6 Safe Driving Tips for a Harsh Winter
Dan Levenson February 01, 2021
Driving during winter can be a harsh and dangerous affair if you lack the experience or confidence needed to navigate in the snow and ice. Even so, safe driving will still be necessary for most people during the colder months. To help you stay safe this year and every year after, here are six safe driving tips for a harsh winter you can use.
1. Change Your Tires
A major problem for many drivers during winter is slipping on ice. If your tires can’t get traction, you’ll be sliding all across the road. That’s why many experienced drivers will switch their tires over during icier times of the year for more rugged winter tires. You can get a set from your favorite mechanic, a dealership, or some hardware stores, then simply change them out when you need the extra grip.
Black ice can be a major issue for drivers during the winter given it’s much harder to see than more traditional hazards. To try to mitigate this, keep your lights on as the sun starts to set even if it’s not totally dark out. Black ice should shimmer in the light from your car, giving you extra time to react and maneuver around it safely.
3. Slow Down
Assuming you have a good driving record and are well-versed in the fundamentals of safe vehicle operation, you should already know not to go speeding down the road. Even so, it’s worth reminding yourself to take it slow during the winter. Roads are much more hazardous during cold times of the year, so the extra few seconds you’ll have to react while driving more slowly could make the difference. Additionally, other drivers are also at an increased risk of crashing, so driving more slowly will keep you from starting a pile-up if someone wrecks in front of you.
Not only are roads more of danger during the winter, but the cold weather itself can also cause your vehicle extra wear and tear. During winter, try to check your vehicle for damage or problems more frequently. Catching something like damage to a tire or a strange noise under the hood could make the difference between getting home safe and breaking down on a snowy freeway. Additionally, keep an eye on your oil, wiper fluid, brake pads, and the like, as they’re likely getting more users across the board during this time of year.
5. Careful With Hills
Hills can be tricky for a driver even without all the snow and ice. Resist the urge to stomp the gas when you’re going up a hill, as this can easily cause your wheels to spin and get you stuck. Worse yet, it can cause you to slip, meaning you’ll lose control of your vehicle. Additionally, avoiding stopping while on a hill, as you can easily lose traction and become stuck like that, too.
6. Pack Supplies
Every driver should have some minimum maintenance and survival supplies in their vehicle, but it’s especially important during the winter. Some jumper cables, a tire pump, a spare, and more are good for getting your car going during bad weather, with things like dry snacks and a blanket helping to keep you warm and fed if your car gets stuck and you can’t move.
Driving during a rough winter is a tricky task for even the most experienced drivers. Keep yourself and others safe while on the road by following these six driving tips while out in the cold.
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