It’s always important to pay strict attention to the road ahead of you and the drivers around you when operating your vehicle. However, there are additional driving practices you should employ during instances when you’re driving in icy weather. The following tips will help keep you safe on the road during the cold and snowy winter months.
How to Prepare Your Vehicle for Winter Driving
Before getting out on the road, it’s essential that your vehicle has gone through standard preparations for winter driving. This is commonly referred to as having your vehicle winterized. Every system within the vehicle should be checked before you do any driving, including checking everything from the cooling and exhaust systems, to the fuel and ignition systems. This can be accomplished by obtaining a simple inspection.
You should also heavily consider purchasing snow tires for your vehicle, as they offer much more traction and control on snowy roads, as opposed to standard tires. Before driving, your tank should be filled with gasoline and all windows should be cleared of any snow or ice that’s accumulated. Your vehicle should also be stocked with some basic winter protection amenities. This includes a flashlight, scraper, jumper cables, small shovel, and a tow chain. Flares can also be useful in the event of a breakdown.
Steps to Take When Driving in Inclement Weather
When driving on the road as it’s snowing, you’re going to want to always go slow, as your vehicle automatically responds slower to any command you give it. Make sure that you accelerate and decelerate as slowly as possible. This will assist you in avoiding dangerous skids. Stay further back than usual from other vehicles, as it will take longer for your car to stop if you need to slam on your brakes. You also don’t want to speed up or stop the car when traveling up a hill. Both decisions can be very dangerous to your safety. The first will increase your chances of skidding, while the second could cause your vehicle to start moving backwards.
Additional Steps to Take During Long-Distance Trips
When taking a long-distance trip in snowy weather, there are some additional tips you should keep in mind. First, it’s important that you keep track of weather reports up to the day you leave on your trip. If it’s snowing too heavily, don’t hesitate to delay the drive. If you do go out, make sure that someone close to you knows about where you’re traveling to and when you’re supposed to arrive at the destination.
A cell phone is necessary, as are warm clothes, especially gloves. If your vehicle breaks down during your trip, don’t waste energy by attempting to push your vehicle out of the snow. You should stay with your vehicle and attempt to contact someone via your cell phone. You can run the engine and heater, but only in intervals. Running these components on a constant basis will only serve to waste some of the gasoline. It’s also essential that you check that the exhaust pipe is free from snow or ice, as a clogged pipe can lead to a leak of carbon monoxide, which can be deadly.
By following each of these tips, you’ll be much more confident when turning on your vehicle throughout the winter. It’s impossible to entirely eliminate the dangers of driving in icy weather, but these dangers can be drastically reduced. If you are ever in an accident, take your vehicle to Cascade Collision Repair so that any damage can be properly assessed and taken care of.