Weather conditions contribute to ⅙ of the 6 million automobile accidents that occur in the US every year, with 18% of those accidents occurring during winter precipitation. Additionally, over 70% of the nation’s roads lie in snowy areas, which means no matter where you live, learning to navigate winter conditions is a must. It is essential to take extra steps during these months to assure safe and successful travels. Here are 6 tips to keep you safe on the roads this winter:
Prepare Your Car for the Winter
Take some time to winterize your car. Equip your car with winter tires, schedule a maintenance checkup, and be sure to always fill up on fuel before you hit the road. Additionally, make sure you have essential supplies on hand in case of an emergency. We recommend packing ice scrapers, chains, road flares, blankets, flashlights with working batteries and booster cables. Bottled water and non-perishable foods should be part of your winter weather driving kit. If you have a longer trip, be sure you have any necessary medication on hand.
Test Your Skills
It would be beneficial to learn how your car operates in the snow before beginning your journey. Take your car to a safe secluded area to practice braking, accelerating, turning in the snow etc. Seeing how your car behaves on winter surfaces can help avoid a risky situation.
Give yourself more time when venturing out on the road. Turn, accelerate and brake more slowly. Make sure to never exceed the posted speed limit. Rather, you will probably want to drive well below that level in winter conditions.
Always stay aware of other drivers on the road. A good driver always drives defensively with anticipation. Keep alert for hidden ice patches or sudden movements by other drivers. Even if you know how to safely navigate the snow, the drivers you share the road with may not. Try to leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the others on the road. A good rule of thumb is to maintain one car length away from the car in front of you per 10 miles per hour you are traveling.
Do Some Research
If you lack the technical driving skills for winter conditions, look to the internet for some guidance. Learn how to properly react in case you skid or fishtail out of control while driving. In a panic, most people tend to turn their wheel to the opposite side and slam on the brakes. However, this is actually the exact opposite of what you should do.
Use Common Sense
If you’re about to leave and have a gut feeling it’s too dangerous to be driving, then it probably is. If your travels are not absolutely necessary, stay home until the conditions improve. And, if you do drive, take these tips and precautions seriously.
Safe driving starts with having the right insurance coverage in place. Make sure to review your policies and make any necessary adjustments before the winter months to ensure adequate coverage. Call I&E Insurance today, we’ll make sure you’re protected.