In the U.S, over 1,300 people are killed in car crashes on snowy or icy roads every year.
This staggering statistic proves that we must take extra precautions when navigating snowy roads. Perhaps it’s your first time driving across a snowy landscape and you’re not sure how to do this safely.
Sounds like you? Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. Here are tips to help you in snowy driving conditions.
1. Winterize Your Vehicle
Before driving in the snow, winterize your vehicle to ensure it’s properly prepared.
Ask your auto care provider to check your battery as it takes more power to start your car in winter weather. If it’s not functioning properly then replace it.
You should also find out what antifreeze to use as it will stop your cooling system from freezing. Further, switch to winter tires as they have a better grip on icy roads than regular rubber. And make sure your tires are pumped up to the pressure displayed on the tire or in your owner’s manual.
You should also check that your rear-window defroster works well so you can see vehicles behind you. And don’t forget to install winter wipers as these have rubber that prevents ice from collecting on the blades.
2. Plan Your Drive
To avoid driving hazards, plan your journey to avoid any nasty surprises. You should also consider whether the trip is important enough to risk your safety because even if you’re comfortable navigating snowy conditions, other drivers may not be.
When planning your route, avoid steep hills and congested areas. It’s wise to tell a loved one your plans and when you’re expected home so they can alert the authorities if an accident happens.
3. Be Prepared
Make sure you have a survival guide kit should a problem arise. This should include road flares, non-perishable snacks, water, and a blanket to keep you warm. If you’re traveling with a pet then don’t forget food and a water bowl for them.
You should also learn emergency preparedness before you go.
For instance, never leave your car it if breaks down as it’ll be impossible to find in a storm. You should also avoid running your vehicle for an extended period as it may drain the battery. Instead, keep it on enough to keep you warm and then turn it off to prevent the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
4. Check Weather Before Your Trip
Before you leave, check the weather so you’re not trapped in a blizzard. You should also see how temperatures may change while you’re out because this can affect your traction and how well you’ll drive.
Plus, terrible weather may block your visibility so consider this before leaving.
5. Examine Your Tail Pipe
Make sure you check your car’s tailpipe before you set off. Remove any snow, ice, or other debris you find. If the exhaust is still clogged, then carbon monoxide gas can seep into your vehicle which can be fatal for those in the cabin.
6. Clear Your Vision
It’s crucial that you clear snow and ice from the roof and windows so it doesn’t affect your visibility. You should also keep an ice scraper and snow brush so you can easily clear your windscreen.
Further, clear your headlights and taillights so other drivers can see you. But never pour boiling water to clear the ice because it could shatter or crack your windows.
7. Brake Early But Not Often
A key rule is to always brake early and smoothly so you’re in full control of your car. Otherwise, if you’re jabbing the brakes, you could skid and collide with another vehicle.
Note that all new vehicles have anti-lock brakes so apply pressure to the pedal and let the system do the work for you.
8. Go Slow
When you’re driving in snowy conditions, always go slow and steady. Anticipate stops, corners, and hills in advance so you can perfect the momentum. Make sure your tires are doing one thing at a time so, for example, only steer if you’re not braking or accelerating.
Never use cruise control systems in winter as the snow may block the sensors so it doesn’t function properly, putting you at risk.
Further, don’t rely solely on four-wheel or all-wheel drive because they don’t help you brake faster. They are usually heavier than regular vehicles which means they carry more momentum so be mindful of this.
9. Follow the 3-4 Second Rule
As a general rule, stay at least three or four seconds away from the vehicle in front of you. If you’re driving on ice then increase this to eight seconds to keep you safe. Further, this gives other drivers the tip to go slow especially if they’re going too fast.
10. Keep the Gas Tank Half Full
Make sure you have plenty of fuel in the winter as there’s a higher chance you’ll be stuck in traffic. Keep your gas tank half full especially if you’re in a rural area where stations are rare.
Remember, the last thing you want is to run out of gas in the snowstorm so take precautions.
That’s Everything to Know About Snowy Driving Conditions
Hopefully, after this article, you now know everything about navigating snowy driving conditions.
Always winterize your car, plan your drive, and check the weather so you’re not caught in a snow storm. Make sure you pack an emergency kit, clear your vision, and go slow to avoid any accidents. Good luck!
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