Winter driving guide and how to avoid accidents

snow road
Photo Credit: benoitb/iStock Photo

No matter how confident and safe a driver you may be, if you have to be on the road during winter conditions, it is vital to follow some specific protocols. Even the best of drivers may lose control when mother nature takes over. Winter conditions from snow, ice, freezing rain and wind result in a tremendous amount of automobile accidents each year and many of them could have been prevented if the drivers used just a bit more caution when they hit the road.

Here are some helpful winter driving tips that will ensure you arrive to your destination safely if you must be on the road when winter weather abounds:

  • Clear the car before your trip – If snow and/or ice has made an appearance on your car overnight, clear it COMPLETELY before you head out. Oftentimes, drivers end up just clearing off their windows and exterior mirrors, but snow and ice that has built up on your hood and roof can pose a serious risk to other drivers during your trip – potentially becoming flying debris as it becomes airborne while you drive.
  • Leave early – One of the best tips for winter driving is simply to leave early. Many of us are used to our normal schedules, but during winter conditions, a drive that normal takes 20 minutes could take twice that or more. Allow yourself extra time so you won’t feel the need to drive faster than is safe to do so in order to reach your destination on time.
  • Leave extra distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you – In winter driving conditions, stopping distance is one of the most important things to keep in mind. Make sure to leave PLENTY of distance between you and the vehicle in front of you so that if you do need to stop suddenly, you have plenty of room to do so. This can be tough to do as other vehicles may end up filing in front of you but do your best to keep your distance to increase your chances of avoiding an accident.
  • Apply gentle pressure on gas and brake pedals- This one may seem like a no-brainer, but because we are so used to driving in dry weather, it can be easy to apply too much pressure when the ice and snow are hitting the ground. Do your best to apply gas and brake pedal gently to avoid the wheels spinning or locking up, causing you to lose control of the vehicle.
  • Know your anti-lock braking system – Anti-lock brakes or ABS are a fantastic feature available on all new models of vehicles. If you have not felt them engage before, the experience can, well, freak you out a little! ABS brakes vibrate quickly if the brakes are applied forcefully. This prevents the wheels from locking which can lead to skidding or in the case of ice, sliding out of control. Keep this in mind if you are driving in slippery conditions.

While winter weather can provide an incredibly beautiful scene snow and ice cover the trees and landscape, that same beautiful frozen material can be deadly when it covers the road. Use caution and heed the tips above to stay safe and accident free when driving in winter weather.

Uday Tank has been working with writing challenged clients for several years. His educational background in family science and journalism has given him a broad base from which to approach many topics. He especially enjoys writing content after researching and analyzing different resources whether they are books, articles or online stuff.

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