By the time winter rolls around, many motorists have enjoyed months of clear, skies and sunshine, and their winter driving skills have become rusty.
Keep these tips in mind to help avoid a car accident during the winter:
- If possible, do not drive at all in bad weather.If roads are wet, slippery or icy, avoid driving unless it’s an emergency.
- While driving on slippery roads, leave as much distance as possible between you and the vehicle in front of you. Avoid driving at excessive speeds. Remember, braking at high speeds on a road that has been made slippery with ice and snow could be catastrophic.
- If you have to brake, be gentle on the brakes. Avoid harsh braking and slamming on the brakes.
- During winter, motorists may be blinded by the snow and may find it difficult to see your car. Keep your headlights on so that your car is visible to other motorists.
- Prepare your car for winter. Your car is going to be stressed on winter-ravaged roads, and you do not want to face a breakdown while driving or, even worse, be involved in an accident caused by malfunctioning equipment. Check your tire pressure. Check all engine fluids. Replace your windshield wiper blades, and make sure they are working properly. Invest in anti-icing fluids. Clean your windshield thoroughly before you begin driving.
- If you’re going to be driving frequently on snow-covered roads, invest in snow-tires or winter tires. They have greater traction that makes it easy to drive on winter roads.
- One of the biggest hazards of winter driving is black ice. This is ice that is almost transparent, so that it looks like a harmless puddle. Black ice can be treacherous and require caution.
- Don’t be over confident about your car’s safety technology. Even the most advanced collision avoidance systems and technologies can be useless on winter roads. An electronic stability control system may not prevent your car from hydroplaning or rolling over if you slam on the brakes on black ice.
- Don’t take chances. Keep an emergency kit that contains flashlights, food and water, blankets and other necessities in your car at all times.
- Monitor travel alerts, so that you are aware of any routes that are impassable.
Make your goal to plan ahead for winter travel, allow extra travel time if you must be on the road during inclement weather and arrive safely.