Preparing for Old Man Winter: 5 Safety Tips for Winter Driving

Preparing for Old Man Winter: 5 Safety Tips for Winter Driving

| Dec 28, 2016 | Safety Tips |

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If you live in Florida, Arizona, California or any other warm-weather state, then enjoy the next few months, and carry on as usual. However, for those of us here in the frozen tundra known as the Great Lakes region, the winter months are a bit more complicated. Snow and ice present a slew of challenges regarding road safety, but there are steps you can take to prepare yourself accordingly. Here are five tips to get you on the right (snowy) path to successful and safe winter driving.

If you live in Florida, Arizona, California or any other warm-weather state, then enjoy the next few months, and carry on as usual. However, for those of us here in the frozen tundra known as the Great Lakes region, the winter months are a bit more complicated. Snow and ice present a slew of challenges regarding road safety, but there are steps you can take to prepare yourself accordingly. Here are five tips to get you on the right (snowy) path to successful and safe winter driving.

Stock Up – Getting stranded roadside is a hassle any time of year, but this increases exponentially when it’s freezing and snowy. Make sure your trunk is packed with all the essentials for a midwinter night’s breakdown. First, throw some extra blankets and old winter clothes in your trunk. They take up very little space and (literally) can be life-savers if you’re stuck with a dead vehicle and must wait for help. If you have kids, make sure you pack extras. Additionally, keep a fully charged power bank in your coat or purse for long trips; if your car battery dies and you need a phone charge to call for help, this can bail you out. Furthermore, you should pack something to help you get out of a jam if your tires get stuck in ice or snow. A shovel and some sand, or a couple flat wood blocks, can help your tires gain traction and get you back on the road.

Keep That Gas Tank Full – Well, keep it at least half full. If you do break down, you want to keep the car running and the heater going. Remember to never keep your vehicle idling in an enclosed space such as a garage, and if you have an older vehicle, crack the windows slightly while idling to keep harmful fumes out.

Make Sure Your Car is Good to Go – Before you get too deep into winter driving, you should have your car checked and serviced. You don’t want an unexpected problem to leave you stranded at the wrong time and place. Make sure your battery takes a full charge and all connections are secure. Have the tires checked to make sure your treads are in good shape for winter. Also, ensure you understand how your car drives and responds in wintry conditions; for example, know how anti-lock brakes, traction control, four-wheel drive and other features interact with slippery surfaces. If you’re not sure, ask an auto expert or read your vehicle’s owner’s manual to get the info you need.

Take it Slowly – We understand that hurries happen, but when it comes to winter driving, you should consider your priorities: Is it the right decision to risk significant danger just to get somewhere sooner? Old Man Winter is much more cooperative with drivers who take it slowly on the roads.

Consider Not Driving – Let’s face it—sometimes Old Man Winter just wins. If there is a severe storm in the area, keep up with the local news for snow emergency info, and understand what each level means. If the experts recommend that you stay off the roads, you should trust them. If you’re going to a friend’s house for a holiday party or traveling during a storm, bring an overnight bag along just in case. It’ll be worth it. Plus, there’s a certain satisfaction in giving in to winter’s demand that you take a snow day for yourself.

As always, we want you to stay safe out there. If you do get into an auto accident this winter or any other time, it’s important to contact an attorney immediately to help you through the process.

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