With all of the wonderful things that come along with winter, we sometimes have to be prepared to handle not-so-pleasant weather as part of the deal. Making sure that you and your vehicle are ready to hit the roads during these winter months is of utmost importance for your safety. We have compiled some winter driving tips to help you enjoy the season without a hitch.
Make sure your vehicle’s health has been properly maintained.
While year round vehicle maintenance is certainly a necessary aspect of car care, maintenance becomes even more important when extreme weather strikes, such as a blizzard or icy conditions. Using winter-grade oil is advised as well as always keeping your fuel tank filled above the halfway mark. Making sure that all of your vehicle’s systems are in solid working order (such as belts, brakes and battery) will help you avoid unexpected and unwanted surprises.
Keep an eye on your tires.
Tire pressure can suffer due to cold temperatures, so making sure that your tires are properly inflated is especially significant throughout the winter months. If you anticipate travel through particularly icy or snowy conditions, it is wise to invest in winter tires. Be aware that “all-season” tires might not provide you with enough protection if you are driving through these conditions.
Adjust your speed.
Pay attention to your speedometer during inclement weather. As a general rule of thumb, you should reduce your speed by about 30% in rain, 50% in snow, and even more in ice. But, be wary of driving too slow — your car needs momentum to keep trekking through the added resistance that these conditions bring.
Smoothness is the main key in preventing loss of control of your vehicle. Do not slam on brakes if you feel your car skidding. Abrupt motions could contribute to a hydroplane or loss of control on ice. It is also advisable to avoid cruise control if the roads are slippery.
Pack a bag!
Drive easy knowing that you have a plan just in case something goes awry while en route to your destination. To be prepared for the road ahead, gather emergency essentials and store them in your car throughout the season. Some items to be sure to include in your bag are a high quality flashlight (and extra batteries), jumper cables, cold weather clothing, and high energy food, such as protein bars. You could also include a shovel, radio, and tow rope if you are travelling in areas that are more susceptible to severe weather.
How do you stay prepared for dangerous winter conditions? Share your tips in the comments.