As soon as snow and ice arrives on roadways, some drivers act like they have never driven in wintery weather. Although a good amount of winter car accidents occur due to the inclement weather, many accidents occur because of a driver error. Fortunately, there are ways that you can decrease your chances of getting in an accident during the icy and snowy winter weather.
Get a Car Check-Up
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends getting your car checked out before the winter weather hits, but if snow has already fallen where you live go ahead and visit a trusted vehicle technician. Even if you have scheduled maintenance on your vehicle, you’ll want to make sure the following are running and working properly:
- Tires: A tire with little tread will be of little help on the ice and snow. A good rule of thumb when testing the tread on your tire is by putting a penny in one of the treads. If Lincoln’s head is covered, your tread is good. If not, you should have your tires checked out and consider getting them replaced. It’s always a good idea to stick to your tire rotation schedule, too.
- Battery: Colder weather is hard on your car’s battery and if it’s older you’re likely to go out to your car some morning and find that it won’t start. Check the cable connections and make sure that the terminals (or posts) are clean. It may be a good idea to go ahead and purchase a new one if your battery is old.
If your car technician suggests replacing anything else, such as hoses, don’t wait until you have a breakdown. It will save you more money in the long run.
Refresh Yourself on Winter Driving
Winter driving can be stressful, particularly if you’re caught in a snowstorm during your commute. Although you may be nervous or feel under pressure by other motorists, stay calm and take your time.
- Get the Forecast: Whenever possible check out the weather forecast and if it sounds like travel isn’t recommended, try to stay off the roads. Give yourself extra time to get to where to need to go.
- Keep Your Distance: Tailgating is a terrible driving habit. In the winter, in particular, it’s extremely important to keep a safe distance between you and other vehicles, specifically larger trucks and snow plows. Never try to pass a snowplow.
Prepare Yourself for an Emergency
No one wants to get stranded or run into car issues during the winter months, but it’s wise to prepare yourself for any type of emergency. Experts suggest either buying or building your own winter emergency car kit, which can include anything from non-perishable foods to blankets to flashlights and road flares.
Winter driving doesn’t need to be dangerous. A lot of the winter driving risks depends greatly on the choices that drivers make in maintaining their vehicles and how they operate their vehicles.