Winter driving can be incredibly dangerous. The conditions can change rapidly – you can leave with clear roads and find yourself sliding on ice within ten minutes. Whether it’s rain, sleet, snow, ice, or even the irresponsible holiday drunk driver on their way home from a celebration, it’s important to practice good driving habits and vigilance to keep you and your family safe this winter.
5 Winter Driving Practices to Keep You Safe
- Wear Your Seatbelt. It’s number one for a reason – not wearing a seatbelt can instantly turn a minor crash into serious injury or fatality. Wear your seatbelt and insist that everyone in your car does as well. Talk to your loved ones about wearing their seatbelts to increase their safety this season.
- Slow Down. Decreasing your speed will automatically lessen the severity of any collision, just as higher speeds can increase severity. Monitor your speed and the speed limit carefully, and make the decision to stay below it. Drive slower and slower as the weather gets worse.
- Leave Early. This goes hand-in-hand with slowing down, because running late can lead to faster driving, distracted driving, aggressive driving, and even road rage. Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination, including traffic and weather. Leave early even when you don’t expect bad traffic or weather. Leave the party early if it begins to snow so you can hit the roads before they are too icy.
- Remove All Ice & Snow. It can be tempting to only clear the ice and snow off your side of the windshield when it’s freezing and you’re running late. But fully removing all of the snow will keep you much safer. For one, it will increase your visibility and peripheral vision. Secondly, it will make your car more visible to others on the road, instead of blending with the snowy surroundings.
- Check Tires. Gripping tires can make all the difference on icy roads. Check the tread on your tires and replace them if they are worn. Rotate your tires if needed, and consider investing in snow tires or chains to help your car maneuver on icy roads. Buy a pressure gauge for your tires and regularly check the air pressure, fill as needed. Full tires grip better than under-inflated tires.