There’s nothing to stop winter from coming, so glide into winter safely with driving tips that will help you get through blizzards, over sheets of ice, and pass through mixed precipitation easily. Finding cheap car insurance that best suits your needs before the flakes fly will keep you driving with confidence and offer protection should a mishap occur on these slippery roads.
- Use the Right Floor Mats. For most of the year, it’s perfectly acceptable and safe to have thin floor mats in your vehicle. But, once the snow flies, those mats can easily be overwhelmed with slush and debris that is brought in from the outside. Plus, properly installed mats or mats that are the wrong size for the vehicle can impede the operation of the brake pedal or the accelerator. Consider using retention clips to be certain the mats are secure, and do a regular visual check for debris that could get in the way.
- Check the Windshield Wipers. During the summer you tend to forget how much windshield wiper fluid you use in the winter. Check the wiper fluid reservoir and be certain it is filled (to the line) with winterized fluid. Do a test of the windshield wipers and change them out if there are streaks or skips so you won’t be caught unaware during a snowstorm.
- Toddler Car Seats Considerations. Many parents struggle with car seats, installing them correctly and getting their children inside. There are inspection station locations in every city in case you aren’t confident in the installation. And, instead of dressing your toddler in a thick, puffy snowsuit or coat, keep them in a lighter coat so the seat harness fits more snug. Puffy material makes for a loose fitting harness which puts the child at risk in the instance of a crash.
- Plan Your Route Ahead of Time. The good news is, most winter trips can be postponed if they really have to be. Keep an eye on the skies (and the weather apps) to be certain you’re heading out in friendly weather. If roads aren’t in good shape, consider putting off your trip until they are. If your destination is far away, familiarize yourself with the route there just in case GPS stops working and also let others know when you leave, your route, and what time you expect to arrive.
- Be Distraction Free. It’s hard enough to drive distracted even in perfect weather conditions. Throw in falling snow, ice on the roadways and earlier nightfall and you’ve increased your risk considerably.
- Pack an Emergency Kit. It’s one thing to have an accident it’s quite another to be prepared for it. Pack an extra blanket, gloves, flashlight, collapsible shovel, kitty litter (for traction), and non-perishable snacks so you’ll have basic necessities if you need them.
- Check Your Lights. In the wintertime, it’s all about visibility. Even during the day, snowstorms can be so bad that they impede your sight, and headlights become a requirement. Make a point to regularly check all of the interior and exterior lights of the car. Not just if they are working but if they are clean, bright, and the headlights are aimed out correctly.
- Keep an Eye on Your Tires. Tires often go overlooked, but they are one of the most vulnerable elements of the car. In cold weather, they lose PSI and will therefore be more prone to blowing out and going flat. Tires should be replaced after 6 years of use (minimum). Be sure to check the tread, too, so you can feel confident driving over snow.
- Increase Your Following Distance. You will need a longer margin of error for braking in the winter. The ice and snow on the road will impede your ability to stop more quickly, so leave at least a 5 or 6-second gap between you and the person in front of you.
- Be Wary of Hills. Hills can be a driver’s worst nightmare. Applying more gas on snow covered roads and hills will only cause the wheels to spin. Gain some inertia before you drive up the hill to carry you up it. Don’t stop when you’re going uphill as it will be difficult to get started again. Once you reach the top, slow down and go down the hill slowly.
Winter can be a treacherous time to drive, but with these tips and skills you can get through it safely. Make a point to utilize these safe driving tips so the cold and snowy weather doesn’t get the best of you!