Winter driving posts a lot of risks to drivers and their passengers. The slick road coupled with freezing temperature and damp darkness outside make it difficult to have complete control over your vehicle. One wrong move can result to a deadly accident.
While the best way to avoid such fate is to keep yourself at home, there are cases when you need to take your car out to attend to some important matters. In such case, you can use some reminders to keep yourself safe while driving this winter. Here are some tips to keep you in control.
Equip yourself and your car before leaving
Prior to hitting the road, ensure your car is in peak operating condition. Make sure its battery, lights and brakes are working and its tires are well inflated. There should also be ample amount of anti-freeze and windshield washer fluid.
Aside from the mechanical equipment of your vehicle, do not forget to prepare an emergency kit that you can use when disaster hits. Keep things such as flashlight, batteries, jumper cables, flares as well as basic repair tools in your trunk. You should also pack your own winter gear, which includes warm clothes, gloves, hats as well as sunglasses to keep your eyes protected against the sun’s glare off the snow and ice.
Drive with added care
Even if your car is already equipped with devices like special tires, chains, fog lights and defroster, none of these things will assure your safety on the road. So the best thing you can do to is drive with added care when the roads are slippery. Prevent skids from happening by driving slowly and avoiding abrupt braking, turning or acceleration. Remember, any sudden move or quick change of direction is an invitation to skid that could end up in a crash.
It is also important not to use cruise control while winter driving. While this system can help your leg from getting fatigued, especially on long trips, it can be unsafe on winter conditions as it can cause your vehicle’s wheels to spin rapidly when they hit ice or snow. When that happens, it is more likely that you will lose control of your car.
Always keep a safe distance between your car and the car in front of you. While it is tempting to close the gap when the driver in front of you is moving too slow on the freeway, do not do it. Tailgating usually ends up in accidents, especially on busy roads. If the car in front of you abruptly stops and you are close behind, it is not just a fender-bender that you have to deal with. On a snow- or ice-covered road, that could result to uncontrolled skidding that can cause collision with other vehicles. For sure, that is the last thing you want to happen, so keep your head cool and maintain good distance.
Do not drive when you are fatigued or just stay home
No matter how good a driver you are, never drive when you are exhausted. Get some rest before driving so as to avoid the risks.
If you are already on a trip or maybe you are just about to leave and the weather got worse and you feel it is no longer safe to drive, stay put. If you are on the road, pull over on a safe spot and stay inside your vehicle. It provides good temporary shelter and will make it easier for rescuers to locate you when you get stuck. If you are still at home, your best bet is to put off the trip altogether.