When it comes to water safety, our advice is often confined to pools and hot tubs. That said, during these colder months, the snow and ice can be just as deadly. In fact, according to research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, winter storms, bad weather and sloppy road conditions are a factor in nearly half a million crashes and more than 2,000 road deaths every winter. With that in mind, let’s explore some safe driving tips for winter weather.
Safe Driving Tips for Winter
First and foremost, careful driving is excellent advice all year long. Still, when during the colder months
, this advice can be even more important. The roads are slick with ice
, and heavy snowfall can make it difficult to even see where you’re driving. Here are some basic safe driving tips for winter that can help drivers of all ages.
Just Stay Home
The best tip is to avoid unnecessary travel during dangerous weather conditions. Why go out in bad weather if it isn’t absolutely required? Removing yourself from a hazardous situation avoids the problem entirely.
Drive Slowing and Purposefully
Speeding is never a good idea. In snowy conditions, it becomes even more dangerous. Take it slow, and try to avoid any sudden jumps in acceleration or deceleration. This way, the driver will retain more control, even on unsure ground.
Additionally, try to keep extra distance between your car and the other vehicles on the road. Tailgating is always dangerous, but even more so in a storm. The driver in front of you may lose control or see something you cannot. Leaving extra space gives both drivers extra reaction time.
Dangerous Hill Zone
There’s nothing worse than being forced to drive up a hill in the snow or ice. Even the most careful drivers can’t know what to expect. Above all, try to keep as much control as possible.
Don’t try to overpower the hill. Slamming down on the gas will only cause your tires to spin. The best trick is to build up a bit of movement before you reach the incline. The inertia can help to propel you up the hill with minimal effort. When you hit the top, reduce your speed and proceed with caution.
Windshield Wipers Save Lives
Being prepared is always the best safety tip. That’s true for pool safety, boating safety and road safety. In this case, it pays to prepare your vehicle for the cold weather.
Replace old windshield wiper blades before you need them. They can be lifesavers in a blinding storm. You should also fill your wiper fluid before venturing out. Just be careful: in freezing temperatures, this fluid can potentially freeze and obstruct your vision. To be extra safe, wash your windshield inside and out with household glass cleaner before you head out. Finally, keep a windshield scraper, a shovel and a small broom in your vehicle. These items are essential for clearing snow should your parked car become covered with snow.
If you do become stranded, the smartest play is to remain inside your vehicle and call for help using your phone. Stepping out into the harsh weather can lead to you becoming lost or being struck by another driver.
While waiting for help to arrive, turn on your hazard lights and overhead safety lamp. To help stay warm, run your car engine and the heater in short ten-minute bursts. Doing this in small intervals can conserve gas and help to prevent the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
To learn even more Safe Driving Tips for Winter Weather, check out AAA’s Official Guide