Winter Driving Tips To Keep You Safe
Snow is falling and making for a messy commute yet again, so to avoid an accident or becoming part of a massive car pile up like the one that occurred in New York last week, follow our five simple winter driving tips:
Be prepared. This seems like an obvious tip, but many of us never think to check what our car needs for winter driving until a big storm hits. One way to be prepared is by stocking up your car with all the essentials ahead of time. My dad always warns that driving without an extra container of windshield wiper fluid in the winter is suicide—and he’s right. Along with wiper fluid, carry a flashlight, extra articles of clothing or blanket, and a bag of salt or kitty litter in your trunk in case you get stuck.
Also, never go too far below a half tank of gas without filling up again.
Allow cushion room between cars. I admit I am prone to tailgating a bit, but this could be dangerous during the winter. Double the amount of space you usually give between yourself and the car in front of you to allow plenty of time to ease on the brake without losing traction, which leads into the next tip.
Don’t slam on the brakes. Slamming on your breaks is one of the most common mistakes made in sketchy conditions. Even if you know not to, in the heat of the moment our first reaction is to want to immediately hault. But if you feel your car skidding, ease off the accelerator and steer your car in the direction you want to go. The car will naturally slow down without completely losing all its traction, which is what will happen if you panic and slam on the breaks.
Don’t power up hills. The same concept of slowly braking also applies to accelerating in wintry conditions. When driving up a hill, don’t rely on last minute acceleration to get you up because your tires will spin without catching pavement. Instead, speed up slightly as you approach the hill and let inertia be the accelerator as it carries your car up the hill.
If stranded, keep fresh air in your vehicle. If you find yourself in a sticky situation on the side of the road awaiting help, it is actually better to crack a window and be chilly rather than remaining cozy-warm and falling asleep. Wind drifts can force snow to block your vehicle’s exhaust, causing fatal carbon monoxide gas to enter your car.
Have any additional winter driving tips you’d like to share? Let us know!