It’s that time of year again. The days are shorter, the air is colder, and that means we could be in for some ice and snow in the near future. Let’s talk about how to stay safe on the road during the winter season.
Make sure you can see clearly
Make sure you clear snow off of your car before you drive, or it will be hard for other drivers to see you! Or the snow might fly off and land on another driver’s windshield completely, so be sure to clear the roof, windows, lights and trunk. Be sure to heat your car from the inside, to help de-ice the exterior, and prevent windshields and windows from getting foggy.
Give Yourself Time
You might notice that your car had less traction on snow and ice. Whether you’re on flat or hilly roads, you should accelerate, slow down, and take turns more slowly than you normally would. Make sure you give yourself enough time to get your car ready, and so you don’t feel rushed on the drive.
Avoid driving, if you can
If you’re not used to driving in severe weather, try not to leave the house if you don’t have to. When you do have to venture out, try to plan your errands in one trip, or invite a neighbor to reduce the number of cars on the road.
Snow and ice will require longer stopping distances than in dry conditions. Make sure you’re leaving room for stopping, and looking ahead on the road for slippery conditions. Keep these things in mind when planning your route, so you can anticipate to slow down before turns, leaving that extra stopping room.
Best Practices for driving in the snow
Make sure you’re not slamming on your brakes, especially when you start to slide. You’ll be more likely to lose traction on bridges, overpasses, and shady areas. When you hit ice, take your foot off the accelerator and do NOT pump the brakes, rather steer your wheel, pointing your head in the direction you want to be driving, not the direction the car is sliding. Consider investing in snow socks or snow tires, these will help keep your traction on the road.
Before snow starts to fall, consider having a reputable mechanic assess your car’s winter readiness. It’s also important to make sure your tires still have good traction. Preparing before a situation arises can help keep both you and others safe on the road. In addition to preparing your vehicle, create your own car kit just in case you get stranded and have to wait for help. You’ll want to have a portable phone charger, first aid kit, snow brush, ice scraper, water, energy bars, blankets, a shovel, cardboard if you need added traction when stuck, and a flashlight.
Now that your car is ready, make sure you’re not distracted, drowsy, drugged, or drunk driving. Save the phone calls, smoking, eating, texting, etc for either before or after your trip. Keep your hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road.
Get winter tires
If you can manage to get a set of four winter (or snow) tires, they will provide more traction in snow, slush, and ice than all-season tires.
We hope these tips help you feel more prepared for winter driving. If you’d like to have a winter-readiness assessment of your car or to get fit for winter tires connect with our team at Superior Auto Service!