When then the leaves drop and the snow falls, the risks to winter drivers increases. Lowered visibility, snow drifts, and black ice are just a few of the hazards to be wary of when setting out in your vehicle this time of year. To help make for a safer winter driving season, we’ve gathered the top 11 safety tips for driving in winter.
1. Slow down – Plan ahead and allow extra time to navigate slowly and deliberately to your destination, lowering your speed and likelihood of losing control.
2. Don’t stop – When possible, try to avoid coming to a complete stop to prevent getting stuck when attempting to accelerate from a standstill.
3. Accelerate slowly – Stepping on the gas may cause you to lose traction between you and the road with the possibility of losing control of your vehicle.
4. Decelerate slowly – Stomping on the brakes may have little to no effect on icy roads. Foresee the need to slow down early and reduce your speed over a greater distance.
5. Know your brakes – Antilock brakes perform differently than standard brakes. Regardless of your vehicle’s brakes, try to apply firm, steady pressure with the ball of your foot.
6. Use AWD or 4WD – All and four-wheel drive vehicles usually require you to engage the system before you start moving. Check to make sure you are in AWD or 4WD before you begin your journey.
7. Minimize distractions – This is a great tip regardless of the weather conditions, but especially so in the winter as the time necessary to avoid a collision or accident can be much greater than driving in perfect conditions.
8. Don’t use cruise control – Black ice or snow-covered roadways require quick reactions cruise control systems often cannot mimic.
9. Clean headlamps/taillights – Snow covered lights only make it more difficult to see the road ahead and for those behind to see you.
10. Prepare for your trip ahead of time – Before you depart, make sure your vehicle is in tip-top shape by checking your tires, wipers, battery, coolant, and washer fluid. Additionally, be sure to carry a shovel or broom, kitty litter or sand, jumper cables, phone charger, along with personal items such as a blanket, food, water, and medicine.
11. Check your insurance – Accidents are more likely to occur when weather conditions deteriorate. Make sure you have the right coverage for you, your vehicle, and your passengers before heading out into wintery weather.
And of course, if the weather is exceptionally poor, the best driving tip of all is to not drive at all and to stay home!