Okay, it’s official – winter has come early. The snow has arrived, and that means it’s time to brush up on tips for safe winter driving and driving in snow. The roads can get slick and visibility can go way down, so it’s important to take it easy and stay safe. Since we know that driving in snow may not be something you do every day, we’ve got some tips to help you stay safe behind the wheel in the snow.
1. Don’t rely on four-wheel drive.
Yes, four-wheel drive is helpful. But don’t think that it makes winter driving absolutely foolproof. You still need to be careful and drive safe.
2. Check that your car is ready for the cold weather.
Make sure you have enough antifreeze. Check your defogger and defroster to make sure they’re ready to roll. Also, check the tread on your tires and make sure that they’ll have enough traction to handle the new weather conditions. It’s really important to maintain the tires on your car.
3. Increase your following distance.
It’s really important to give the car in front of you plenty of breathing room when you’re driving in snowy conditions. If you need to slow down, you’ll want plenty of room to do so. Give yourself more time to stop by doubling your following distance.
4. Pay attention to what’s coming up.
Keep your attention on the road and on what’s coming up. You might need to make a turn, you might need to stop at a light, you might need to stop for a stop sign. Make sure you’re keeping your eyes open and that you’re ready to respond to these things safely and smoothly.
5. Drive slow in the snow.
Winter is not the time to be a speed demon. Take it easy and remember that everything – slowing down, stopping, turning, accelerating – takes longer when the roads are slippery. Slow it down.
To help you plan your commute, check out this Weather.com resource: Commuter Forecast.
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6. Brake right.
If you’ve got anti-lock brakes, use a constant amount of pressure when you push the brake. Don’t suddenly jam on the brakes – this makes it easier to lose traction.
7. Be careful with turns.
When you have to take a turn or make a curve, start braking early on – remember, brake carefully and with a constant amount of push. When you’re in the process of turning or curving, ease off the brake and let the car’s forward motion take you through the turn.
8. Have supplies in your car.
It’s not a bad idea to plan ahead and have some snow supplies in your car. Have a snow shovel and a snow brush in your car so that you can, well, take care of any snow that’s causing trouble. Also, you might want to consider having some emergency flares and a flashlight in your car so that you can signal for help if need be. It never hurts to be prepared.
9. Know how to handle a skid.
If you hit a slippery spot and start to skid, don’t slam on your brakes. Instead, stay calm, take your foot off the gas, and let the car slow down on its own. Your initial impulse might be to brake for dear life, but this actually lowers the amount of traction you’ve got.
10. Wear your seatbelt.
Definitely buckle up. There are lots of reasons why you should wear your seatbelt. Seatbelts are designed to keep the driver safe by distributing the force of a crash to the strongest parts of the body. Make sure that you and all passengers are securely buckled.
11. Bonus tip: Don’t drive.
If you don’t absolutely have to go out when the weather’s bad, don’t. Try to reschedule or postpone any trips until the weather clears up and the roads are better. Staying home will keep you safe from the winter roads. If you have teenagers, this is especially important when it comes to keeping your teen driver safe – make sure they’re not out on the roads if the weather is bad.
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So, there you have it: ten tips for driving in snow (plus one bonus tip.) Don’t hurry, be careful, and postpone your trip if you can. Stay safe during the frigid winter months!
While we’re thinking about driving and cars (and since you may be stuck indoors due to the weather) do you want to get an auto insurance quote? We can help you compare rates for your car insurance and save money. All you have to do is fill out our online quote form or give us a call today.