Winter is coming, and war is on the horizon. But the battle we’re talking about today is your car vs. snowy roads.
Winter is one of the most dangerous seasons for driving. In fact, the Federal Highway Administration says that 22% of all accidents per year are weather related, which includes snow, freezing rain, and black ice. But despite the risks of winter driving, you can keep yourself out of harm’s way with a little knowhow and a lot of care. Here are 6 tips to get you started.
1. Snow tires
If you live in an area with a lot of snowfall, snow tires can dramatically impact the way your vehicle handles the elements. While cars with snow tires aren’t accident proof, the added grip the tires provide can be the difference between a small slip and a major accident.
If you don’t get snow tires for any reason, at least make sure your tires are inflated. The change in temperature can cause them to deflate.
2. Always keep winter essentials on hand
Snow storms can be ferocious, and your car can get covered in ice and fresh powder in an hour’s time. You’ll want to have an ice scraper and a snow brush available at arms reach.
If you’d like to prepare yourself further, consider bringing a warm blanket and fresh water with you to keep you warm and hydrated in the event of an accident.
3. Check the weather for every stage of your journey
Knowing is half the battle, and driving is no different. When planning long road trips, check the weather forecast for the major locations along your route to know what you’re getting yourself into.
If possible, time your journey to avoid the worst weather on your route.
4. Keep plenty of distance between the car in front of you
Even if you’re a cautious driver, you never know what the vehicle in front of you is going to do. To keep you and your fellow drivers safe, create an especially large gap between you and those in front of you. A good rule of thumb is one car length for every ten miles per hour, and even more in inclement weather. That way, no matter who loses control of their car, everyone else will be able to react and respond accordingly.
5. Always be mindful of black ice
If the weather is cold, there’s a chance that any wet surface can turn to ice. Even if the temperature outside is above freezing (32 degrees fahrenheit), ice can still form on pavement. Since you can’t really predict when a patch of road might get icy, take extra precautious around sharp turns and make sure your brakes can stop your car without skidding.
6. Go slow
Driving isn’t a race. Your only job is to get from point A to point B while respecting the rules of the road to the best of your ability. When the weather is bad, go slow and keep safe under any circumstances. No matter how the cars behind you may be driving, just remember that slow and steady wins the race.
Though it’s always a bummer to add extra time to your commute or road trip, a safe arrival is more than worth the cost. Even if you don’t realize it, you are precious cargo to your friends and family members. Keeping yourself safe is the best Christmas present anyone could ask for.