We all know the roads can get very slippery when it snows but taking your time and making the appropriate preparations will allow you to travel despite the weather. With just a few simple steps you can stay safer on the roads this winter and prevent accidents before they even happen.
1. Check the Weather Before You Leave
This seems like a no-brainer but we can so easily get caught up in our own schedule that we forget to factor in Mother Nature. Sometimes it’s better to wait out a storm than try to brave it out there in the cold. If you know you’re going to be traveling, be sure to check the weather at least a day ahead of time and the day before so you can make the right arrangements to drive when the weather is at its best.
2. Do a Quick Inventory on Your Car Before You Leave
Taking the time to quickly prep your car before going out can save you a lot of headache on the road. Be sure to top off all fluids and bring the important ones, like antifreeze, just in case. And throughout the winter you should check your tires for the right pressure and get your battery tested – for help with either of these actions, stop by our service department for more help. It’s also a good idea to have a fully stocked emergency kit, complete with blankets, non-perishable food, first-aid kit, cell phone car charger, and flashlight. These can really help you out in a pinch.
3. Take It Slow
When the roads are icy or wet it can take more time to accelerate but it can give you better traction to take it easy off the line. Four-wheel-drive can provide a little extra in the slushy stuff but it doesn’t matter when there’s ice on the road so you’re better off trying to keep your driving slow and smooth. If at all possible, avoid taking abrupt turns as they can lead to extra sliding across the road and you don’t want to lose control of the vehicle.
4. Give Them Space
It’s tempting to try to go as fast as possible to make up for the extra time winter driving takes, but the best way to prevent accidents is to slow down and put more space between you and the car in front of you. It takes a much longer distance to stop your vehicle in the snow or ice because of greatly reduced traction – even with a light dusting of snow.
5. Avoid Cruise Control
This is a big one. You need to be in control of your vehicle at all times when conditions are compromised. Putting your vehicle into cruise control might be second nature on the highway but in the winter it’s best to just avoid it. It’s dangerous because if your car skids or starts to hydroplane, cruise control will still try to maintain speed and could send your tires spinning or worse.
6. Take a Break
If visibility becomes poor or you’re fatigued from driving or for any other reason: It’s absolutely fine to pull over and take a break. Find a safe spot to wait until the weather passes or to take a nap or to regain your bearings before trying to drive again. It’s worth a little extra time on the road to arrive safely. Your boss or significant other will understand.