Motorists should always be prepared for the worst while traveling in winter weather. Unexpected weather can quickly change conditions on the road. This means drivers need to pay extra attention to their driving skills during this time of the year. Even if everything seems fine, a dangerous situation can arise in very little time once precipitation begins to fall.
Winterize Your Vehicle
Ensure your vehicle is winterized previous to travel. This will reduce your chances of car trouble during winter weather. Replace coolant and flush out the previous year’s coolant from the system. Check your tire pressure regularly and keep a tire gauge on hand. Your tires may become low as the air is exposed to dropping temperatures.
Prepare a Winter Survival Kit
Create a survival kit to carry in your vehicle prior to winter weather travel. Include items such as a flashlight, blankets, a first aid kit, non-perishable food, emergency flares, candles, matches and a cell phone. Never take this kit out of the vehicle. You never know when a winter weather emergency may arise.
Notify Others of Travel Plans
Always notify someone of your plans before traveling. Winter weather can happen quickly so even if you aren’t expected to encounter any precipitation, it’s a good idea to let someone know where you’ll be. Include information about the route you’ll be taking, including major highways, and when you expect to arrive. In case of a winter weather emergency, someone will know where to look for you.
Winter Weather Driving Tips
If you find yourself in a winter weather situation during travel, safe driving is a must. Use seatbelts and remember to turn on your headlights anytime it is snowing or sleeting. This will ensure other motorists are able to see you. Drive at lower speeds to minimize the risk of sliding or wrecks.
Keep a safe distance between yourself and other vehicles. In case you need to stop quickly during winter weather. This will help prevent sliding into another vehicle in front of you. Avoid or drive very slowly on bridges and exit ramps. These areas are most prone to icing during winter weather.
When approaching an emergency vehicle, such as a police car, ambulance or fire truck, during winter weather, make sure to move into the farthest lane possible. If you cannot move, reduce your speed as much as possible. This is a law in most states and a safe practice even when you aren’t traveling in winter weather. Most of all, pay attention to everything around you and take your time. Travel during winter weather can be dangerous but keeping a clear head can help you emerge safely.