These winter driving tips will help keep you and others safe on the road this winter.
What You Need to Know When Operating in a Vehicle in the Winter
Winter conditions can bring on a wide range of difficulties, from snowy stairs causing slip and fall injuries to heavy snow damaging buildings and trees. Winter weather can also result in hazardous driving conditions.
That doesn’t mean drivers need to stay off the road entirely during this season. It simply means they need to be vigilant behind the wheel.
These tips will help. To keep yourself and others safe on the road this winter, keep the following points in mind:
Winter Driving Tips
- Make sure you are completely rested before driving. Although it’s always important to stay off the road when you’re fatigued, it’s particularly crucial during winter, when you need to pay careful attention to changing road conditions.
- Always wear your seatbelt. Make sure other occupants are wearing theirs too.
- Check your tires regularly. Cold temperatures can cause tire pressure to drop. It’s also important to check your tire tread with the penny test before winter. To do so, insert a penny into the tread. The penny should be upside down and facing you. If you can see Lincoln’s head, you need new tires.
- Don’t warm up your vehicle in a garage or similar enclosed area.
- Prevent gas line freeze up by ensuring the tank is never less than half full.
- Don’t use cruise control when roads are slick or slippery.
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Winter Driving Tips (Long-Distance)
- Check weather reports for all areas in which you’ll be driving. If reports indicate you can expect to encounter particularly harsh weather, reschedule your trip.
- Have your vehicle inspected beforehand.
- Keep an emergency box with a first-aid kit, water, food, warm clothes, road flares, and a fully-charged cell phone in your vehicle at all times.
- Don’t leave your vehicle if you get stuck in the snow. The car will protect you from the elements. Staying in the vehicle also makes it easier for rescue teams to find you. That said, if you do wind up snowbound, make sure snow, ice, or other debris isn’t clogging the exhaust. This can cause carbon monoxide to build up in the car.
- If you’re snowbound and haven’t packed sufficient clothing, use other materials and items to keep yourself warm, including floor mats, paper documents, and anything else that’s available.
Tips for Driving in Snow
- Accelerate and decelerate relatively slowly to maintain traction. It’s also important to brake carefully but early when approaching red lights and stop signs. Icy conditions make it harder to slow down than usual.
- Drive slowly in general. You need to exercise a very high degree of caution when operating a vehicle in the snow.
- In dry conditions, drivers are encouraged to maintain a following distance of about four seconds. Increase that to 10 seconds when snow or ice is on the road. Again, you’ll need more time to stop.
- Build up speed steadily and carefully on flat services when approaching hills. Powering up hills in the snow is difficult. You’re better off building inertia first. It will carry you up the hill. Once you reach the top, reduce your speed to travel down the hill slowly.
- Don’t drive when you don’t have to. Although these tips will help, driving in the snow can still be challenging. You’re better off staying home whenever possible.
Driving during winter doesn’t have to be stressful. You’ll be much calmer and stay safer when you follow these points. Remember, you’re not the only one on the road. Being careful is about keeping everyone safe.