Driving can take us to extremes. From the freedom and joy of a great road trip to the frustration of a congested commute. On the negative end of the spectrum for many people is driving in bad weather. Hazardous conditions raise stress levels, add time to commutes and increase the likelihood of accidents.
Taking some smart measure in advance and while you are on the icy road will help reduce these negatives. Here are some tips to help keep you and your prized vehicle safe.
Winter driving tips
If you do have to go out in the harsh conditions, there is a lot you can do to reduce the risks.
- Know before you go
First off, know what you are getting into before you head out. If a storm is in the forecast, follow the weather predictions so you can plan accordingly. Make sure you are familiar with the roads you are traveling on. You might be able to beat a storm, wait it out, or just stay home altogether. Sometimes it just isn’t worth it.
- Give yourself plenty of time
The first thing you can do is give yourself time. If you aren’t in a rush, you can take it slowly. Remember, posted speed limits are for ideal driving conditions. A blizzard is far from ideal, in terms of driving conditions.
- Keep it nice and steady
In addition to going slow, go steady. Keeping a steady speed is much safer than speeding up and slowing down, which will increase the risk of losing control. This is especially true for hills. If possible, avoid stopping on them.
- Follow at a greater distance
Keep a greater distance between you and the car in front of you. This will give you more time and space to stop, especially when driving on ice. Slippery roads can more than double the stopping distance you may need. It also gives you time to react to any bad decisions made by drivers in front of you.
- Stay alert & avoid distractions
Speaking of which, keep an eye on the cars around you. Even in places accustomed to harsh winter conditions, it seems like every year people forget how to drive in the snow. You are better off assuming people around you will make mistakes, so keep your distance whenever possible.
On that note, you might want to turn off the music and other distractions. Put all your focus on driving. If music helps you relax, then leave it on, but don’t worry about pushing any buttons if the conditions around you are bad.
- Make sure your car is prepared
Many of the safety measures you can take will happen before you leave. Check your tires to make sure they are road worthy. Check your lights and clear your windows and mirrors. Warming up your car is a good idea so the defrost keeps your windows clear. Just make sure you don’t run your car in a closed garage. Finally, take some extra measures to keep your car winter ready. Good window wipers are a must. You can also get custom fitted and secured floor mats so they don’t slip around under your feet.
While it can be best to just skip the storm, sometimes that just isn’t an option. If you have to drive in severe weather conditions, be prepared and be safe.