Winter driving is a unique experience compared to driving during any other season. Fortunately, many of the preventative measures you take for each type of driving condition are the same. Before you begin your journey, be sure to check all of the following vehicle safety points.

Vehicle Safety

Brakes: Check both your vehicle brakes and trailer brakes to make sure they are working properly.

Tires: Prior to driving in snow, ice and slush, you need to make certain that your tires have tread. It is also important to make sure your tires are balanced, rotated and aligned, to reduce the possibility of bald spots. If you live in an area with harsh winter weather, you should use special snow tires in the winter or put chains on your tires. Since cold weather may decrease your tire pressure, make sure you have enough air in your tires.

Lights: Test to make sure your headlights, taillights, brake lights, reverse lights and turn signals are all in proper working order. In heavy snow fall, it is impossible to guess the intentions of other drivers, so any lights that indicate behaviors (like stopping and turning) are extra important.

Windshield: To ensure windshield visibility, you need a properly functioning heater and defroster. Also, make sure to monitor the health of your windshield wipers. Ice and snow can cause your wipers to become hard or cracked, so be sure to check them out, before you begin driving.

Items to Carry in Your Vehicle

There are certain necessary items you should carry with you when you drive in winter weather. These include:

Scraper: Carry a scraper with you, and make sure to clean your windshield off before driving. You should also carry de-icer fluid.

Sand: If you do get stuck in the snow, try throwing a little sand or kitty litter on top of the snow or ice to give you added traction if you get stuck.

Chains: If you do not have snow tires, carry chains with you for your vehicle and trailer tires.

Rags: Carry rags in your vehicle for the possibility of a mal-functioning defroster.

Driving Methods

Follow at a safe distance: Snow and ice make for difficult braking and frequent skidding. Stay far from the cars ahead of you so that you have an extra cushion of space in which you can keep control of your vehicle. While you may typically follow the three-second rule in good weather, winter weather requires that you increase that to a six or nine-second rule.

Pay attention to appropriate braking procedures: Remember, if you do not have anti-lock brakes you should pump when you need to stop. If you do have anti-lock brakes, you should never pump the brakes.

Always wear your seatbelt: Your seatbelt can mean the difference between walking away from an accident with a few scratches and not walking away at all. It is the law to wear your seatbelt no matter what the weather conditions are, but with the additional risk of accident in winter weather, seatbelt wearing becomes even more important.

Take the extra time to learn and follow the above guidelines. It will make winter weather easier to drive in and will lower your chances of having a preventable accident.

 

Take Necessary Precautions for Safe Winter Driving

Winter driving is a unique experience compared to driving during any other season. Fortunately, many of the preventative measures you take for each type of driving condition are the same. Before you begin your journey, be sure to check all of the following vehicle safety points.

Vehicle Safety

Brakes: Check both your vehicle brakes and trailer brakes to make sure they are working properly.

Tires: Prior to driving in snow, ice and slush, you need to make certain that your tires have tread. It is also important to make sure your tires are balanced, rotated and aligned, to reduce the possibility of bald spots. If you live in an area with harsh winter weather, you should use special snow tires in the winter or put chains on your tires. Since cold weather may decrease your tire pressure, make sure you have enough air in your tires.

Lights: Test to make sure your headlights, taillights, brake lights, reverse lights and turn signals are all in proper working order. In heavy snow fall, it is impossible to guess the intentions of other drivers, so any lights that indicate behaviors (like stopping and turning) are extra important.

Windshield: To ensure windshield visibility, you need a properly functioning heater and defroster. Also, make sure to monitor the health of your windshield wipers. Ice and snow can cause your wipers to become hard or cracked, so be sure to check them out, before you begin driving.

Items to Carry in Your Vehicle

There are certain necessary items you should carry with you when you drive in winter weather. These include:

Scraper: Carry a scraper with you, and make sure to clean your windshield off before driving. You should also carry de-icer fluid.

Sand: If you do get stuck in the snow, try throwing a little sand or kitty litter on top of the snow or ice to give you added traction if you get stuck.

Chains: If you do not have snow tires, carry chains with you for your vehicle and trailer tires.

Rags: Carry rags in your vehicle for the possibility of a mal-functioning defroster.

Driving Methods

Follow at a safe distance: Snow and ice make for difficult braking and frequent skidding. Stay far from the cars ahead of you so that you have an extra cushion of space in which you can keep control of your vehicle. While you may typically follow the three-second rule in good weather, winter weather requires that you increase that to a six or nine-second rule.

Pay attention to appropriate braking procedures: Remember, if you do not have anti-lock brakes you should pump when you need to stop. If you do have anti-lock brakes, you should never pump the brakes.

Always wear your seatbelt: Your seatbelt can mean the difference between walking away from an accident with a few scratches and not walking away at all. It is the law to wear your seatbelt no matter what the weather conditions are, but with the additional risk of accident in winter weather, seatbelt wearing becomes even more important.

Take the extra time to learn and follow the above guidelines. It will make winter weather easier to drive in and will lower your chances of having a preventable accident.