In our area, we recently woke to our first snow fall of the winter season. Roads can be slick & slippery with snow on the ground, and falling snow or even heavy rain can make it difficult to see.
Safe winter driving requires a balance of preparation & common sense. As we think of the winter months ahead & the possibility of snow, take a look at these winter driving tips:
- Winterize your vehicle- It’s a good time to have your anti-freeze & windshield washer fluid checked. While you are at the shop, have your brakes, heater, exhaust & lights tested for safety.
- Clear snow & ice from your vehicle- Before driving, take the time to remove ice from your windows, lights & mirrors, snow from your hood & roof for you own safety & the safety of those driving around you.
- Slow down- Keep in mind that posted speed limit signs are for dry road conditions & will need to be adjusted for safe driving in hazardous weather
- Do NOT use cruise control- if you are driving on a wet road or even a road that appears dry, there could be black ice or a slick spot. If you hit that slick spot with cruise on, an activated cruise control system will cause your vehicle to accelerate & keep up with the wheels spinning. Turn cruise off for safe winter driving.
- Prepare a winter emergency kit- It’s a good idea to keep a warm blanket, even some extra winter clothing, water, first aid kits, flashlight & batteries, a shovel, ice scraper & your normal roadside emergency kit in your trunk in case you would get stuck in traffic from another accident or get stuck in heavy snow or your vehicle breaks down.
- Use brakes carefully- if your car starts to skid, take your foot off the accelerator & gently turn your car in the direction you want your front wheels to go. Hitting the brakes or turning sharply can lock you into a skid. Anti-lock brakes should not be pumped, rather quickly press them to the floor & steer into the skid.
- Wear safety belt- Always wear your safety belt each and every time you enter a vehicle to protect yourself & others.
- Allow extra time- Give yourself extra time to get to your destination, whether it is a long travel route or short, extra time will allow you to slow down, have time to think & drive safely
- Give way to snow plows & salt trucks- Road clearing will be more successful if the maintenance vehicles have enough room, do your best to allow room for them to work & always stay back from salt trucks.
- Consider staying home- If you are uncomfortable when you look at the current weather conditions outside, tend to be a nervous driver or if your trip is not a real necessity, consider the possibility of simply staying home and avoiding driving on the snow/icy roads.