Driving in the snowy conditions brought on by the winter months isn’t always an easy task. Safety is of the utmost importance while driving in snowy weather. Here are some tips to keep you, and your passengers safe while braving winter conditions.
If the weather is especially bad, stay home
If the weather is very bad, and you don’t absolutely need to travel, then stay home. Accidents are more likely to happen during more extreme conditions. If you can avoid braving the roads, then by all means, do so.
Don’t drive impaired
This may go without saying, but you should never drive impaired. Whether you’re under the influence of alcohol, drugs or are just very tired, it is never a good idea to drive while impaired. This is especially true in dangerous winter conditions.
Before you even start your car, shut off your cell hone. Driving distracted, especially in the winter, is dangerous. Don’t answer your cell phone, check or respond to text messages, or fiddle with the radio while driving. Driving distracted is one of the leading causes of accidents.
Allow plenty of space
During normal conditions, you should follow the two-second rule, allowing the car in front of you to pass a stationary object, and not passing that object yourself before two seconds. In winter conditions, you should triple the space between your car and the car ahead of you. This is to ensure you have time to brake. In winter conditions, your car may not stop quickly enough and if you’re too close to the car in front of you, you could crash into the car in front of you.
Hitting the break too suddenly, and too quickly, could cause the brakes to skip. If you notice this happening, ease up on the breaks (assuming it’s safe to do so) and brake more slowly.
In winter conditions, it’s important to base your speed on the weather conditions. If the weather is especially bad, drive slower. It is more important to be safe than to keep up with a higher speed limit.
Keep to the main roads
If possible, drive on the main roads. These roads tend to be more well-taken care of, and they are more frequently traveled, which helps break down ice and snow. These roads may be easier to drive on than back roads that might be covered in several inches of snow, or even ice.
Avoid cruise control
Cruise control may be tempting to use, but should be avoided during winter conditions. Drivers should be more aware of their speeds, an adjust them according to their surroundings. Using cruise control on winter roads could prove to be fatal with delayed reaction times.
Accelerate and decelerate slowly
When accelerating or decelerating, do so slowly. This helps maintain (and regain) traction in the ice and snow. Accelerating or decelerating too quickly can be dangerous and cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
Wear your seat belt
Seat belts save lives. It is critical that your seat belt during each and every car trip you take. Seat belts increase your chances of surviving a crash. Don’t forget and don’t let it slide. Make sure you (and your passengers) are buckled during each and every trip.