Snowstorms and icy roads make winter driving treacherous. But save the ice rinks for skates and the slippery slopes for skis.
For those of you who need to report to work in all kinds of inclement weather, try brushing up on some winter driving know-how to make your travels to work as safe as possible.
Clear The Air
When heating up your car, or cleaning it free of snow and ice, make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area if you’ll be leaving the car running. Check to see whether your exhaust pipe is free from snow. A backup could cause the fumes to circulate in the car, instead of out through the pipe.
Keep Tabs On Your Vehicle
Make sure you know the status of your basic car maintenance. This includes:
- Properly functioning windshield wipers
- Windshield fluid reservoir filled
- A full or close to full gas tank
- Tires aren’t worn or in need of being filled
- A fully charged battery
- Properly working headlights, rear lights, and brake lights
Stock Your Car
Have a winter weather kit. Place an extra blanket in the back seat and an extra bottle of windshield fluid in the trunk. Keep a stash of non-perishable foods and water on hand. If you don’t already have jumper cables, flares and a tire pump, now would be a good time to invest. AAA also recommends keeping a brightly colored flag to tie to your antenna to increase visibility if you should get stranded.
Learn Some Driving Techniques
- Practice driving on icy areas in a secluded area if you can, to get a feel for how your car behaves on slippery surfaces.
- Allow more space between yourself and the car in front of you in case you need to come to a stop.
- If you find yourself skidding, fight the urge to brake. Instead become familiar with AAA recommendations for both front and rear wheel skids.
- Don’t use cruise control in slippery conditions.
- If approaching an icy hill don’t stop, it’ll make it that much more difficult to get that car to continue moving in a forward direction. But don’t increase your speed either, which can result in you losing control of the car. Instead, gain a little speed before heading up and then maintain as you go.
If you should get stuck for any reason, it is recommended that you stay inside your car. It provides you with shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to find you. If you leave your car in heavy snow, it can be easy to lose sight of your car and be unable to find your way back.
For more tips on winter driving safety, check out these resources.