The winter driving season means severe weather and dangerous driving conditions. Winter storms seem to pop up out of nowhere. As a driver, you should be aware of the many safety rules/strategies for winter driving.
Before the winter driving season even starts, it is important to have your vehicle checked out by an authorized mechanic. Your mechanic should check the condition of:
- Tires for proper air pressure and wear
- Antifreeze levels
- Hoses and belts
- Spark Plugs
Now that your vehicle is ready for winter driving you will want to check the weather reports for the type of weather you will be traveling in. If the forecast looks treacherous, you can always wait out the storm. If the weather is going to be frigid, warm up your vehicle before you drive it. Do not warm up your vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage, as this may lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. If you need to warm your vehicle up, open your garage door.
Your vehicle is ready, you’ve checked the forecast, and suddenly you’re driving in a storm. If your visibility is limited due to heavy snow, pull off the road and wait until conditions improve. Sometimes ice and water can surprise drivers, even when there is very little of it on the road. Do you know how to prevent a skid? What happens if you’re sliding towards another vehicle? If you don’t want to end up in a vehicle accident, AAA has some winter driving tips.
- Never mix radial tires with other types of tires.
- Avoid using your parking brake to slow or stop.
- Don’t use your cruise control in slippery conditions.
- Look and steer in the direction you want to go.
- Decelerate and accelerate slowly.
- Increase your following distance to at least 10 seconds.
- Determine if you have anti-lock brakes which will pump the brakes for you in a skid.
- Try not to stop going uphill.
- Keep your gas tank at least half-full.
- Don’t try to push your vehicle out if you get stranded.
- Tie a brightly colored cloth to your antennae or stuff it in your window to signal distress.
Keep these tips in mind and remain cautious to ensure you make it to your destination safely.
-Jay Van Deurzen