The holidays are a time for family, friends, and fun. But they can also be a time for danger on the roads. Every year, accidents and fatalities occur due to drivers not taking the necessary precautions to stay safe during winter weather.
This article will discuss six ways to protect yourself and your loved ones while driving in the winter.
Make Sure Your Car is in Good Condition
It is essential to make sure your car is in top condition before you drive it during the winter. Ensure all your fluids, such as oil and coolant, are at the correct levels and that tires have sufficient tread depth for icy roads.
If you don’t feel comfortable checking these items yourself, take your vehicle to a trusted mechanic and have them check it. You should also ensure your wipers and lights are in good working order, so you can clearly see the roads.
Driving with a full gas tank is also recommended, as running out of gas can be especially dangerous during winter. Keep an emergency kit in your car with items such as a blanket, flares, and jumper cables. You should also ensure that you have a spare tire and all the necessary tools to change it.
Drive Slower and More Patiently
When driving during the winter, it is crucial to be aware of how slippery road conditions may affect your vehicle’s handling. You should always drive at a speed appropriate for the road conditions and ensure you don’t get too close to other cars or objects. Additionally, when driving in the snow, be more patient. It’s easy to get frustrated when stuck in traffic or behind a slow driver, but it’s essential to remain calm and take time. Aggressive driving often leads to dangerous situations, which you should avoid.
Be Aware of the Weather Conditions
It is important to pay attention to the weather conditions before you set out on a journey and plan your route accordingly. Try to avoid roads known for icy or snowy conditions during winter months. You should also check road reports regularly while driving to ensure that you are not driving in hazardous conditions.
If you encounter bad weather while on the road, be prepared to adjust your route if necessary. If visibility is low or roads are icy, avoid going over hills and bridges, as these can be especially dangerous in poor weather conditions.
Pull off the road and wait for the weather to improve if conditions become too hazardous.
It is always important to stay alert while driving, but this becomes even more essential during the winter months. When visibility is low, or roads are slippery, it’s easy to become distracted and make mistakes that can have serious consequences. Make sure you are aware of your surroundings and don’t let yourself become complacent.
Take extra care when driving at night, and ensure you are well rested before you take to the roads. You should also avoid using your cell phone or other electronic devices while driving, as these can be distracting and increase the risk of an accident.
Make Sure You are Visible to Other Drivers
Visibility is crucial when driving in winter weather, as roads can become treacherous and visibility can be limited. Ensure your headlights and taillights are clean and functioning correctly so that other drivers can see you on the roads. It is also important to periodically check your mirrors and blind spots while driving to anticipate any potential road hazards. This will ensure that you are aware of any vehicles or objects that may be difficult for other drivers to see in low-light conditions. Additionally, if you are towing a trailer, adjust your speed accordingly, as it can take more time and effort to maneuver a vehicle with a trailer in icy conditions safely.
Pay Attention to Traffic Signals
It is important to pay attention to traffic signals while driving in the winter, as they often indicate potential hazards on the road. Signs warning of icy roads should be taken seriously, and extra caution should be used when navigating these areas. You should also obey all speed limit signs, even if you feel that you can safely drive faster. Slowing down can help reduce the risk of your vehicle skidding on icy roads, so driving at a safe speed is critical.
Driving safely in winter conditions requires extra caution and attention to detail. It is vital to slow down, be aware of the weather conditions, make sure you are visible to other drivers, stay alert, and pay attention to traffic signals to stay safe on the roads this winter. By taking these precautions when driving during cold weather, you can ensure that your journey is safe and successful.
Bonus Tip: Take Care in Wet Weather
When it comes to driving in the winter, we often focus on battling snow storms or trying to navigate icy stretches. Snow-covered and icy roads can be hazardous, but it’s also important to be wary of the dangers of driving in wet weather.
Heavy downpours, flash flooding and prolonged periods of rain can make the surface precarious. Severe wet weather can also increase the risk of a hydrolocked motor. If torrential rain is forecast, delay your journey. If the roads are very wet, or there are floods in the area, avoid driving unless your journey is absolutely essential.
If you drive through very deep puddles, this can cause extensive damage to your car. In some cases, repairs can cost thousands.
It is safer to drive in light rain and showers, but remember to increase your stopping distance, give vehicles around you more time and space and use your lights and wipers to improve visibility.