Winter weather can make driving tricky and even dangerous. Dark nights, snow-covered roads, and patches of ice are all hazards you might run into while driving during the winter months. Here are the top 5 tips for safe driving in winter weather.
- Be prepared.
- Keep an emergency kit in your car, including road flares, extra food and water, warm clothing, a flashlight, blankets, and medications.
- Make sure your tires are properly inflated and have plenty of tread.
- Keep your gas tank at least half full.
- Know how to handle snowy conditions.
- Drive slowly. Always adjust your used car’s speed down to account for lower traction when driving on snow or ice. Accelerate and decelerate slowly.
- Increase your following distance to five to six seconds. This extra space will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop suddenly.
- Don’t stop if you can avoid it. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
- Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads will make you lose traction and your wheels spin.
- Always wear a seatbelt. In case of an accident, wearing your seatbelt can save your life.
- Know what to do if you get stuck.
- Stay with your vehicle. Your vehicle provides temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. Do not leave your car or try to walk in any inclement weather.
- Be visible. Tie a brightly colored t-shirt or piece of fabric to the antenna of your vehicle. At night, if you have the battery power remaining, keep a light on in your car so that you can be easily seen.
- Clear the exhaust pipe. An exhaust pipe clogged with snow, ice, or mud can cause dangerous carbon monoxide gas to leak into the vehicle while the engine is running.
- Stay warm. Use whatever you have available in your car to stay warm. If you do not have extra clothes or blankets, you can use newspapers or floormats to insulate your body heat.
- Conserve fuel. If possible, only run the engine and heater long enough to warm up. It’s important to reserve gas if you’re stranded.
- Check the weather and plan your route ahead of time. This is always a good practice to follow but it is especially important to be prepared in winter weather.
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