Although most people love watching snow fall from the comfort of their own home, it’s a different story when you’re behind the wheel. Driving safely during the winter can be a real challenge even for the most experienced motorists. As we head into 2021, we’re sharing critical tips for driving in ice, sleet and snow.
Inspect Your Vehicle
Before the winter season begins, spend some time inspecting your vehicle and making sure it’s ready for inclement weather. You can do this yourself or visit your local auto shop for a quick inspection. During your inspection, you should:
- Make sure your battery is adequately charged
- Top off all your fluids
- Check that your front and rear wipers are in good condition
- Check all your exterior lights and make sure they’re bright
- Check that your tires have plenty of tread remaining
Have an Emergency Kit
Each year, winter storms cause major shutdowns and leave thousands of drivers stuck on the road for hours at a time. Worse yet, car crashes are a common occurrence during the winter and victims may find themselves stuck in the elements. Make sure you’re ready for the worst-case scenario by placing an emergency kit in your vehicle that includes:
- Non-perishable food and water
- Emergency flares
- Jumper cables
- Battery-operated radio
Use Caution Around Ice
Ice is a common threat during the winter months. Much like when driving in heavy rain, the best way to avoid an accident in icy conditions is simple: slow down. Slowing down allows you to focus on your surroundings and quickly respond to any obstacles on the road. You should also get to know how your particular vehicle handles on ice and use the appropriate level of caution when driving.
Know How to Get Unstuck
Whether it’s pulling out of your driveway or leaving a parking lot, your vehicle may get stuck in the snow or ice this winter. Should this happen to you, don’t panic and don’t try to power out of it by slamming the gas. Instead, try wedging a piece of cardboard between your tire and the ground. In a pinch, you could even use your car’s floor mat. You can also sprinkle cat litter or other loose, dry material around the area to give your tire more traction. Then, slowly drive away from the ice.
Use Inertia to Your Advantage
When road conditions are slippery, avoid stopping unless you have to. Most vehicles become stuck after stopping on a patch of ice. If you’re approaching a stop light and it’s safe to do so, try slowing down until the light changes.
The same rule applies when driving uphill during the winter. Rather than trying to “gun it” and slam the gas pedal, maintain a steady speed going into the hill and until you reach the top. Then, slowly back off the gas and let yourself come down gradually until you reach the bottom. This will help you avoid spinning out on the hill and becoming stuck.
Follow for More Safety Tips
Our attorneys see countless accidents each winter that could have been prevented with the right precautions. It is our pleasure to assemble these winter driving safety tips and we invite you to share them with your friends and family.
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