Winter Driving Safety Tips
December 17, 2019
Winter brings colder temperatures and heavy precipitation throughout the United States. Driving in winter conditions can be dangerous as car accidents increase due to snow and ice. Knowing how to prepare for winter driving can help keep you and your loved ones safe.
Prepare Your Car
A car requires routine inspection and regular maintenance to perform properly. Making sure your car is in top working order during the winter months is essential to safety. Always be sure to perform the following inspections and tasks before the brutal winter months arrive:
- Ensure your car’s battery is in good working order. Cold temperatures affect the amount of power needed to start your engine. Electric and hybrid cars will reduce battery power in cold weather as well.
- Check the battery charging system and belts in the motor.
- Check headlamps, brake lights, turn signal lights, emergency hazard lights, and all interior lights.
- Check fluids and the coolant system for leaks.
- Ensure windshield wipers and windshield cleaning fluids are stable for driving in snowy conditions and for de-icing the windshield. Replace fluids and wiper blades when necessary.
- Make sure defrosters are in good working order.
- Properly install floor mats in the car so that slipping does not interfere with the operation of gas or brake pedals.
- Tires are imperative to safety. Check air pressure, treads, and the age of your tires and replace or repair them as needed.
Prepare for Your Trip
After your vehicle is ready, be sure to prepare yourself for a safe trip by adhering to the following suggestions:
- Check the weather report for the areas you plan to travel in and adjust your schedule as needed to avoid inclement weather.
- Get a good night’s rest; drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving and distracted driving.
- Avoid alcohol consumption or medication before driving. Even over the counter medications can have a significant impact on your focus and attention when driving.
- Put your cell phone in the backseat of the car to avoid temptation to use it. Plan out your navigation before beginning your journey so you do not have to rely on the GPS.
- Be sure to pack several heavy blankets, bottled water, non-perishable food items, and snow removal tools in the trunk in case you become disabled during a storm or inclement weather conditions.
- Make sure you have a full tank of gas before embarking on your journey. Gas stations typically close in heavy snowstorms.
- Make sure all passengers and the driver have a working seat belt or child restraint seat available.
In the event you become stuck or disabled in winter weather conditions, remember to remain calm and stay with your vehicle. Avoid running the car for long periods to stay warm to prevent a buildup of lethal carbon monoxide gases. Be sure to clear the exhaust pipe of snow and ice as well. Rely on the blankets and food supplies in the trunk to help you through your crisis.
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