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Winter Driving Safety Tips

Dashia Starr
Updated Feb 25, 2021
1 min read

Driving in snow and ice can be unpredictable and sometimes dangerous. According to The Federal Highway Administration, more than 1,800 people die each year while driving in wintry conditions, and the majority of U.S. roads are in areas where snow and ice are common.

Whether you’re someone with years of snow driving experience or one who grips the wheel at the first sign of a few flakes – now’s the time to hone up your winter driving skills. Oftentimes, we think we know what to do during bad weather conditions when we hit the roads. We’ve put together some tips and reminders for driving safely during cold weather.

Keep an Emergency Kit

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In case of emergency, keep a few necessities handy for your safety. You’ll also want to keep a box with the following at all times:

  • Flashlight and backup batteries
  • Car phone charger
  • Non-perishable snacks
  • Water
  • Ice scraper and snow shovel
  • Blankets
  • Jackets, gloves and scarves
  • First-aid kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Road flares
  • Extra cables
  • Paper and pen or pencil

You should always keep at least half a tank of gas in your car at all times. This will keep your engine performing better as well as keep your car running and warm if stuck on the road for an extended time.  Remember to always keep your driving documents handy including licenses, roadside assistance numbers and insurance in case you need to call for help. If you’re a senior, make sure you keep your cell phone, a safety device or medical alert device in the car in case of an emergency while on the go. Lastly, make sure your child’s car seat is installed properly by your local fire department for assurance and safety.

Maintain Car Upkeep

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Before the icy weather lands, make sure your car maintenance is up to date. Check on oil changes, leaks and replace any worn car parts. Make sure you check your battery, engine oil, tires and windshield wipers. Also, be sure to check your antifreeze and wiper fluids to make sure nozzles aren’t frozen over. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also recommends checking for recalls to catch potential safety issues early.

Most importantly, check on your tires. They’re the keys to making sure your car can brake and accelerate in winter weather. Check with your mechanic to make sure your tire has enough air and at least 2/32 of an inch tread for safe driving. Some cars come equipped with special features for wintery weather like traction settings, 4-wheel drive and an anti-lock braking system (ABS) during icy conditions.

 

Know Before You Go

If you must drive in winter weather, keep a few quick tips top of mind. Follow the common road and interstate reminders such as watching your speed and not driving too close. During winter weather, it’s best to follow six to eight seconds behind the car in front of you. Drive and stop slowly, and if it seems too dangerous, pull over. Avoid using cruise control so you have more control of the car and avoid stopping on hills. If your route normally includes hilly roads, then try to pick up your speed before climbing the hill and slowly proceed back down the hill.

It’s extremely important to be aware of black ice. If you hit a slippery spot while driving, do not hit the brakes. Take your foot off the gas and let your car move freely over the ice. Keep the steering wheel straight. If possible, head towards areas with traction for safety.

Remember, during inclement weather your safety is key. Pay attention to your local news and trust your gut. Keep your car in good working condition and practice safe driving for you and others on the road. The best advice to remember is this: if you don’t feel safe, don’t go.

Drive Carefully

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If you must drive in winter weather, keep a few quick tips top of mind. Follow the common road and interstate reminders such as watching your speed and not driving too close. During winter weather, it’s best to follow six to eight seconds behind the car in front of you. Drive and stop slowly, and if it seems too dangerous, pull over. Avoid using cruise control so you have more control of the car and avoid stopping on hills. If your route normally includes hilly roads, then try to pick up your speed before climbing the hill and slowly proceed back down the hill.

It’s extremely important to be aware of black ice. If you hit a slippery spot while driving, do not hit the brakes. Take your foot off the gas and let your car move freely over the ice. Keep the steering wheel straight. If possible, head towards areas with traction for safety.

Remember, during inclement weather your safety is key. Pay attention to your local news and trust your gut. Keep your car in good working condition and practice safe driving for you and others on the road. The best advice to remember is this: if you don’t feel safe, don’t go.

 

Stay Alert

If you have to drive during wintry weather, make sure you’re alert. Avoid texting while driving, and stay sober. Even certain medications can impair your sense of judgment, so if your medication may cause drowsiness or impairment, ask a friend or family member to drive for you. And if you find yourself getting tired, consider purchasing a caffeinated drink or pull over to rest.

The Bottom Line

Remember, during inclement weather, your safety is key. Pay attention to your local news and trust your gut. Keep your car in good working condition and practice safe driving for you and others on the road. The best advice to remember is this: if you don’t feel safe, don’t go.


Dashia Starr avatar

Written by

Dashia Starr

Dashia researches and writes on all things home automation and security. She focuses on the latest news, products, and providers to share only the best with you.

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