Driving in winter can be one of the scariest things that happens to us all year. Road conditions are bad, people drive at different paces, and some vehicles just aren’t equipped to handle the snow weather at all.
It’s tough. And the reality is that there’s very real danger involved with driving during the long winter season. We’re here to provide you with some thoughts and ideas on how you can increase your safety. The risks involved with driving become a lot less likely to happen if you’re prepared and you know what you’re doing.
Let’s take a look at how to improve your winter driving.
Ways to Make Winter Driving Safer
There’s a common complaint among regular winter drivers that once the snowfalls, people start driving unnecessarily slow. That may be true in some cases, but that complaint is part of the problem across the board in snowy states. Drivers are impatient and too hurried as they move along the roads.
That leads to some drivers getting close up behind others and increasing the risk of a crash should the front car have to break in a moment’s notice. It can be tough to fight off the temptation to just speed up and get the impatient driver off of your tail.
This brings us to our first point.
Drive at Your Own Pace
Sure, there’s a speed limit, but that limit is created for driving while conditions are within the normal range. A speed limit is just a number that you should normally abide by.
When you’re not convinced of the road quality, you should drive at whatever speed you feel is comfortable. In this case, that means taking it slow even when people behind you grow impatient. Your safety is the most important thing, and keep in mind that bad roads can cause you to crash into oncoming cars and harming those drivers as well.
So, the speedy guy in the truck with snow tires can fume on his own while you drive at a comfortable pace.
If drivers are too impatient with your speed, you can always find a place to pull over and let them pass. If there isn’t a passing lane in on the road or highway, slim roads tend to have a number of pockets that you can pull into and wait in.
Make Sure Your Car is Prepared
Preparing your car is another big piece of winter, especially if you drive an older car that’s liable to break down. Preparation might include snow tires or chains, but it certainly means getting your windshield wipers in good condition.
A smearing windshield in a snowstorm with low visibility is the perfect equation for an accident. If you can ensure that your wipers will keep your windshield clear of snow and ice, you’ll be in a much better position to stay safe. You should double-check that your heat is working in the wintertime.
If you crash or slip off the side of the road, your car might still be able to run and produce heat to keep you safe. Conditions can be blistering and cold, so having a source of heat can be a literal lifesaver.
Tuck Away Nonperishable Food and Water
It might seem excessive to have a store of the necessities in your car, but the fact is that the United States is home to a lot of long, seldom-traveled roads. Those roads are the ones we take to visit relatives, go on trips, get to work, and more.
Even though people travel these roads regularly, there’s no telling how bad the conditions might get. A snowstorm can have a person right off the side of the road but invisible to passing cars. Further, that storm might interrupt your cell service.
For those reasons, it’s always a good idea to have a little bit of food and water tucked into your car somewhere. That way, you can stay safe and warm while you wait for some help to come if you slip off the road. Nonperishable cans and bottles of water will be all you need to stay comfortable for that time.
Monitor Road Conditions
It’s smart to use an app that monitors the quality of roads in the wintertime. You can typically get a feel for the sort of obstacles that you’re up against with a weather or road app.
If you notice that conditions are bad, you can just create an alternative route that’s a bit safer. Keep in mind, though, that the reality of the roads won’t always be reflected in the app you use. It’s still important to keep an eye out for slick spots, read road signs, and take it slow when you have the feeling that you should.
Let People Know Where You’re Going
The final safety tip that we’ll suggest is to let friends and family know where you’re going in winter.
You don’t have to explicitly tell them that you’re letting them know in case you get lost or slip off the road, but just ensure that someone knows where you are when you plan to drive in rural areas. City and suburb driving tends to be on populated roads that are well-managed.
If you slide off on popular roads, you’ll be seen by passing cars, and your safety is pretty well guaranteed. Longer trips in rural areas, though, can pose the chance of danger. If someone knows where you’re traveling to, they can help others find you if you’re stuck in a ditch somewhere.
The ideas above might seem a little excessive, but it’s very important to have a plan for your safety in the winter. We forget that driving is a really dangerous activity, albeit necessary to normal life.
Want Some More Driving Tips?
Getting the hang of winter driving means figuring out how to stay safe. Hopefully, the information above has given you some ideas on ways to do just that.
If you’re looking for more information, though, explore our site for ideas and insights into safety tips and much more.