For most people, winters are all about crackling fires and cozy snuggles with coffee. While for the daredevils, it is the perfect time for some thrill rides. No wonder we have seen cars drifting and blowing snow on the roads. However, it is very dangerous, especially when you are not fully prepared.
When the chilly weather sets in, drivers face some of the most treacherous road conditions. Poor visibility, snow piles, or slippery ice on the road often lead to horrible accidents. For this reason, it is crucial to winterize your car and take safety precautions when driving during the winters.
So, read ahead to learn safe driving tips for winter conditions recommended by the experts from towing services in USA.
Things to do before hitting the road
- Schedule a vehicle maintenance appointment
What’s worse than a vehicle breakdown? A vehicle breakdown in the cold, snowy season. Whether you are planning a holiday trip or daily commute, start by making your car road-ready. Schedule a maintenance appointment with your mechanic for a tune-up. To stay safe, get every part inspected thoroughly for any faults, leaks, or damages. In case it needs repair or replacements, do not ignore it.
- Understand your vehicle
Not all vehicles are created equal. The type, model, and even the size of your car determine how it handles under extreme conditions. Before you drive on wet, icy roads, understand your vehicle. If you haven’t already, practice driving when your area gets snow. This way, you will know when and how to brake and control your car on slippery surfaces.
To make things easier, read your owner’s manual and become familiar with the important features. Locate switches and buttons that are used in emergencies. Use the sensors, backup camera, and lights to see how they work.
- Check the weather forecast and plan accordingly
The best way to avoid the dangers of winter conditions is by planning ahead. First, check the weather forecast, especially if you will be traveling a long distance. If the weather looks fine, plan your route and check the road conditions. Try to avoid roads with heavy snow or traffic. Also, consider leaving early so you can get to your destination safely.
- Pack the emergency supplies
Bad weather emergencies are ever existing. Pack your vehicle with all the supplies that might help you in case of a breakdown. These include a blanket, torch, ice-scraper, flares, snow chains, a first aid kit, and a tow strap. While carrying a tow strap might not be a priority, it comes in handy when USA towing companies are unable to reach emergency locations.
To survive traffic blocks, do not forget to stock up some snacks, water, and a phone charger. Besides that, wear extra warm clothes for protection from the cold.
- Inspect your tires
Tires can make it or break it for you when driving in the snow. Good tire treads are essential to ensure grip and traction on slippery roads. Worn-out tires pose severe threats to drivers and should be replaced immediately. Furthermore, inflate the tires properly, so you don’t fall victim to a flat tire.
- Check the brake system
It makes sense to take care of your brake system. It keeps you safe from sliding on slick surfaces or crashing into another vehicle. Request a brake check by a professional to ensure they are in good condition. If you feel reduced grip or hear squeaking noises upon hitting the brake pedal, immediately take your vehicle to a repair shop.
- Keep tow service USA number on speed dial
Lastly, it’s wise to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. Should you find yourself in an accident or a vehicle breakdown, know how to call. Keep Tow service USA number on your speed dial or write it on a piece of paper for emergency use.
5 Essential Winter Driving Tips to Follow
- Drive slowly and smoothly
Never rush on winter roads. They are slick and slippery that makes it harder to control vehicles. Drive super smoothly on snow-covered surfaces since even a slight jerky movement can cause you to skid and lose control.
Use extreme caution when turning or changing lanes. You need to ensure the tires gain enough traction. Moreover, when accelerating, do not be tempted and be gentle on the throttle.
- Keep a safe distance
While you may be a seasoned driver with winter driving skills, other drivers on the road may be inexperienced. When driving in snowstorms, such drivers may break suddenly leading to car crashes. Keep a safe following distance with a slow speed so you can have a reasonable amount of time to react and brake.
- Navigate around snowplows
Driving around snowplows has its risks. The operators cannot see directly behind their large trucks. On the other hand, vehicle drivers may also find it difficult to see the oncoming traffic due to the snow clouds. When you encounter a snowplow, make sure to drive behind it while maintaining a safe distance. Do not follow too closely because it drives slowly and stops frequently. It is recommended to move past a snowplow only when it moves to the side of the road every 5 – 8 kilometers.
- Avoid ramps, overpasses, or bridges
Pay extra attention to the bridges and ramps around your route. Staying frozen for a long time, these areas are ideal spots for black ice. Unlike its name, black ice is invisible and potentially dangerous deadly. If possible, take alternate routes to avoid bridges and overpasses. Otherwise, if you must, drive slow and steady and avoid hard braking.
- Minimize distractions
Distracted driving can be hazardous, especially during the winter season. To ensure the safety of your passengers, minimize distractions. Stay super alert on the road and do not take your eyes off the road. A good approach is to turn off your phone or connect it to the car’s Bluetooth. Never get behind the wheels if you are not sober.