Driving is a privilege for many, but it often feels like a punishment during the cold winter months. Waking up early to warm the car, shoveling the driveway, and driving on slick roads is frustrating, dangerous, and stressful. It’s no wonder so many people are involved in accidents this time of year. Before the temperature drops to below freezing, it’s time to take a quick refresher course in appropriate winter driving. Whether you drive in the snow every year or you just moved from a tropical location to a winter wonderland, paying attention to these winter driving tips could save your life.
If it’s at all possible to avoid going out in the middle of a snowstorm or severe winter weather, do so. It’s one of the best winter driving tips to abide by. To avoid emergency situations such as a last-minute trip to the store before the weather gets worse, keep your home stocked with emergency supplies. This includes flashlights, batteries, water, and nonperishable food items. The best way to stay safe in a blizzard or snowstorm is to stay home.
Skip the Cruise Control
Cruise control is nice when you’re driving on the highway or interstate, but it’s not meant for winter roads. You must retain control of the vehicle. Not controlling this leaves you controlling less of the car, and it makes you slower to react when something happens. Skip cruise control in the cold.
Stay with Your Car
If you break down, get stuck in a snow drift, or you can’t move your car for some other reason, don’t leave it. It’s dangerous to leave a car in inclement winter weather. It doesn’t take long for you to become too cold to move, to lose your way to your car, and to end up freezing to death. Make sure you have a first aid kit, water, and a warm blanket in the car with you all winter.
Were you aware that posted speed limit signs only apply to good weather when it’s dry? Cold weather conditions change the rules of the road, and the posted speed limit is not always appropriate for this type of weather. Don’t worry about driving under the speed limit when it’s too dangerous to ignore this rule. Wet, slick, icy roads are too dangerous to obey maximum speed limit laws.
Provide A Detailed Map to A Trusted Person
If you insist on leaving home during a snow storm, provide a detailed map of your route, destination, and a timeframe for return to a trusted source. If something happens and you don’t return by the specified time and a loved one cannot get in touch with you, he or she will be able to tell the police where to look based on your instructions. Just remember to stay on the route, or notify your source if you must deviate from the route for any reason.
Never Pass A Snow Plow
These trucks are heavy, they are dangerous, and they are doing a job. They’re slow, yes. However, passing one means you’re entering onto a road that’s yet to be cleared or salted, and it’s dangerous. Drivers of these trucks are also limited in terms of their visibility. Putting yourself in danger to go a little faster isn’t worth it.
Turn the Car Off
One of the most crucial winter driving tips you know is to stay with your car if you can’t move, but don’t just leave it running. Turn the heater on for 10 minutes every hour or so to preserve gas and energy. Before you turn it on, though, check to ensure your tailpipe is clear. If it becomes filled with snow, your car pushes all the harmful gases such as carbon monoxide back into the car, potentially killing you.
Stay off the roads with the weather is bad this winter. The rules of the road are far easier to obey when you stay home and safe in your own home. If you must leave, be sure to follow these simple winter driving tips for staying safe and alive.