Driving in winter weather conditions can be a challenge even for the most experienced drivers. In fact, 17% of all vehicle crashes occur during the winter months. Follow these tips to prepare for the elements so you can navigate the roads like a pro.
Winterize Your Vehicle
Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter. Regular tune-ups and maintenance are important year-round, but in the winter pay special attention to your vehicle’s battery, coolant, wipers and tires. It’s also a good idea to keep your gas tank at least half full during the winter months so you can keep it running for warmth if you do become stuck or stranded. Before getting on the road, always clear the snow and ice off your car.
Drive slowly in inclement weather, minimize distractions, and be fully focused on the road. Keep your distance from the driver in front of you. A general driving tip is to stay at least 3 to 4 seconds behind the vehicle in front of you. Increase this to 6 to 8 seconds when driving on wet, icy or snowy roads. Pay special attention to areas like bridges, ramps and overpasses that tend to freeze first and become icy. Check the weather and traffic conditions before heading out so you can plan your route accordingly. You’ll want to allow extra time to get to where you are going.
Stock Your Emergency Kit
An emergency kit in your car is helpful if you get stuck in the snow or have a breakdown or accident. Items to include are an ice scraper, flashlights, blankets, jumper cables, road flares, a fully-inflated spare tire and first aid kit.
Preparing your vehicle and yourself for inclement weather conditions helps to reduce the probability of an accident and keeps you safe on the road. You are your car’s best safety feature.