Winter driving, for experienced northerners and inexperienced southerners alike, can be a tricky and dangerous task. Driving in snowy/icy conditions should be avoided when possible, or at least postponed until after the snow plows and sand trucks have treated the roads. For those times when driving cannot be avoided, try these safety tips for winter weather driving:
- Decrease your speed by 50 percent to increase your reaction time. Leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you, as stopping can take longer in the snow.
- Use your headlights to increase your visibility to other drivers. Keep you lights and windshield clean.
- Practice driving in an empty parking lot to learn how your car handles in the snow.
- Drive cautiously on bridges and overpasses, as they freeze first.
- Plan your route ahead of time, including current weather and road conditions.
- Bring food and water on lengthy drives. There’s always the possibility that you can become stranded for a few hours. Staying properly hydrated and eating healthy, protein-rich snacks will keep you alert to possible hazards.
- Be sure to study techniques for recovering from skids. A general rule of thumb is to remove your foot from the both pedals and gently steer in the direction you want your front wheels to go.
- The cold weather reduces tire pressure so check your tires regularly. You may want to switch to snow tires if you find yourself driving frequently.
- Do not spin your wheels if you get stuck. Rather, turn them from side to side to push snow away. For further assistance, you can shovel snow away, pour kitty litter, sand or salt around your tires and/or use the rubber side of your car’s floor mat to gain traction.
- Keep a winter travel safety kit in your car at all times. Good items to pack include, but are not limited to, an ice scraper, brush, jumper cables, tow rope, kitty litter or salt, blankets, flashlight, flares, weather radio and lock de-icer. Always keep your cell phone on you. Consider bringing a book or magazine in case you get stranded.
Winter driving can be dangerous, but you can take steps to stay safe. Call Premier Group Insurance at (720) 457-1101 for more information on Colorado car insurance.