Now that we are well into the fall months, it’s time to prepare for the colder months ahead! While snowfall might signify some of our favorite holiday traditions, winter weather also has certain implications when it comes to your driving. Yearly, around 75,000 people are injured in traffic accidents on snow or ice covered roads. There are several precautions you can take when it comes to winter weather driving, and doing so could be what saves your life or the lives of other drivers on the road. Here are a few basic tips to help navigate inclimate weather!
Tire Check – Driving on good tires should always (we repeat) always be a high priority when getting on the road. This is even more important when there is snow or ice involved. Your tire traction will already be compromised by the winter roads, so driving on bald tired is a recipe for disaster. Additionally, be sure that your tire pressure is at the appropriate level. Having too much or too little air in your tires affects the traction and steering control, so check what your PSI level should be and check your tires regularly.
Reduced Speed – When it comes to your speed, you will want to reduce it by about 50% of the posted speed limit. Remember, it takes much longer for your car to stop on snowy roads, and we can’t always plan for some sudden stops. Breaking abruptly will likely result in your vehicle losing traction and spinning out.
Steer the Direction you Want to Go – This might sound obvious, but it might not be your nature if you start to feel your car skidding or sliding on ice. Sometimes, due to panic, people have a tendency to over correct the wheel when the car starts to swerve the wrong direction. If this happens, let off the gas, do not slam the brakes, and aim your tires for the direction you want to go. It helps to also focus your eyes on where you want to be as well. You almost always end up wherever you are looking, so focus on the road/lane you want to be in and steadily work your way that direction.
Have the Right Tires – There are tires meant specifically for winter roads, and having these can be the difference between being a reckless driver and being a responsible one. Especially if you live in or are traveling to an area with heavy, consistent snow, having snow tires or tire chains fitted will likely be the factor that gets you to and fro safely.
Don’t get Comfortable – Even if you are driving a 4-wheel drive vehicle with snow chains and all the works, always be aware of the roads. Your focused attention and safe driving practices like reducing your speed and checking your traction is what is going to keep you and everyone else on the road safe.
While there are many habits you can adapt to increase your safety, the best option is to stay off the roads entirely if you can avoid it. This is especially true in extreme inclement weather! The best way to avoid an accident is to stay put as much as possible during that winter weather!