Our driving abilities are frequently put to the test in the winter. 17% of all accidents, according to research by heritage insurance, occur during the winter. Drivers encounter unusual difficulties when they go behind the wheel during winter weather.
More than one of every four weather-related automobile accidents involves snow, slush, or slippery roads. Drivers may need help to see, slow down, and stop in these circumstances. If you must travel in inclement weather, three essential steps will help you drive more safely: prepping your car beforehand, knowing the forecast, and driving according to the road conditions.
In addition, 24% of weather-related accidents occur on snowy, slushy, or icy roadways, and 15% of bad-weather incidents happen when it is snowing or sleeting. These occurrences cause injuries and fatalities every year. Winter necessitates changing how we drive, and we must be ready, vigilant, and responsible. Here are eight helpful suggestions for winter driving safety central to this discussion.
1. Ensure Your Car Is Ready For Winter Rides
Check the emergency flashers, interior lights, turn signals, brake lights, and all other lights (hazard lights). Check your battery as well. As the temperature drops, the battery power will decrease, so you want to be sure you won’t run out of the charge your car needs to run.
Make sure you have an ice scraper, suitable winter wiper blades—ideally new ones—and enough -30°F-rated winter wiper fluid. For best results, keep your petrol tank at least half filled. Consider replacing your conventional floor mats with ones made of rubber or another thicker material when the winter weather is wet and slushy.
The floor mat should not obstruct the driver’s ability to use the brake and gas pedals. It’s usually a good idea to take your automobile to the shop for maintenance before the start of the winter driving season.
2. Pay Attention To Your Tires
Winter tires with more deep and flexible treads are better for safe winter driving. Use a penny to test the tread if you are using all-season tires.
You don’t have enough if the tread stops short of Lincoln’s head. Additionally, check the tire pressure, as cold weather sometimes causes it to drop.
Whether you spend money on snow tires or make sure your new tires aren’t too worn out is entirely up to you. Snow tires are an excellent choice if you frequently drive in bad weather throughout the winter.
3. Clean The Components & Know Your Car’s Capabilities
This includes any exterior camera lenses and the vehicle’s side mirrors (e.g., back-up, lane departure). Always check and clean sensors for autonomous emergency braking, crash prevention, and blind spot detection of snow, ice, and grime.
Know the safety features that are already present in your car. For instance, many modern vehicles now come equipped with traction control, which aids in gaining traction on snowy, icy, or wet terrain, particularly when accelerating from a stop or a sluggish speed or attempting to ascend a slick hill.
An anti-lock braking system is a common feature of automobiles, which assists with emergency steering by regaining tire traction.
4. Ensure Safe Car Seats And Booster Seats
A child’s car seat or booster seat should be suitable for their age and size. Additionally, it needs to be installed properly. You can check if your seat is installed correctly at a car inspection station.
Also, remember that heavier winter clothing can obstruct a child’s harness from fitting correctly in a booster or car seat.
Consider keeping the child warm with thin, warm layers and wrapping them in blankets or coats after the harness is snug and secure if a bulky coat will prevent a proper fit.
5. Plan Your Route And Replace Your Wipers
Check the weather, traffic, and road conditions before you leave. Know the path you’ll travel in advance and let others know. Additionally, give yourself more time than usual to get where you’re going.
Furthermore, your wiper blades will be under a lot of stress over the winter, whether from snow or moisture on your windscreen. It is crucial to replace them before the winter season to make sure they are in the best condition when they need to be working harder than ever to offer visibility and safety for you while driving.
Also, take insurance from heritage insurance to ensure your and your family’s safety. Getting coverage from an insurance company such as heritage insurance can relax your mind when driving on winter roads. So you can consider buying a plan from heritage insurance.
6. Drive In A Way That Avoids Accidents
Increase your separation from the vehicle in front of you, allowing you more room to stop if necessary. If you have antilock brakes, press the brake pedal steadily. If your car lacks antilock brakes, pump the brakes rather than applying heavy pressure to prevent the wheels from locking up.
Accelerate gradually to prevent skidding. If you begin to skid, steer in that direction so you won’t have to make a sharp turn to stay in your lane when you regain traction.
Suppose you experience difficulty seeing out of your windshield, such as when it is snowing heavily; pull over to a safe place away from the shoulder and wait until the situation has passed. Always drive while inebriated, buckle up, and steer clear of distractions like your phone.
7. Keep Your Car Stocked & Keep Within The Speed Limit
Being adequately prepared guarantees you everything you need until help arrives if you become trapped. A snow shovel, a broom, blankets, a flashlight, jumper cables, and emergency indicators like flares can all be a part of this. A cellphone charger, food, drink, prescription drugs, and additional clothing can also be a good idea.
Additionally, slippery or snow-covered terrain makes it much more difficult to steer or stop your car. An estimated 182,000 collisions involving police reports were caused by winter weather in 2019. During the winter, slow down. Avoid using cruise control as well.
8. Know What To Do In An Emergency
Keep your attention on yourself, any passengers, your automobile, and your surroundings if your car gets you stuck in poor weather. Keep driving as you look for roadside assistance.
Additionally, ensure that your automobile can be seen by lighting up the interior dome or placing bright decals on the windows or antenna. A blanket can keep you warm, and water bottles will keep you hydrated if you become stuck. A snow shovel and a bag of salt will help you get your wheels out of a ditch and provide traction on snow or ice.
If you must run the car to stay warm, ensure the exhaust pipe is free of snow, and only run it occasionally and for as long as necessary. Don’t leave the windows open or drive for an extended period in an enclosed area.
The Final Words
In a nutshell, you can avoid a breakdown or accident by preparing your car for the winter, and you’ll also save money on maintenance and gas. Use the advice above if you need help preparing your vehicle for chilly weather and icy roads. Additionally, you have the article above to aid you; carefully study it and drive safely in the winter to keep safety your priority.