Safe Winter Driving Tips

Snow storms and icy conditions present a particular set of driving hazards.  You can prepare for the hazards of winter, the time of year when auto accident claims increase in frequency.  Preparing your vehicle for the winter and knowing how to react in sever conditions or if stranded are the keys to safe winter driving.

Be prepared before a storm hits:

Have a mechanic check your car’s battery, brakes, fluid levels, as well as the heating and exhaust systems to ensure that your car is in good, safe working condition.

Try to keep your gas tank full during the winter months.  Don’t allow the gas to go below half a tank.  Not only will this prevent damage from freezing, you’ll avoid running out of gas if your stuck in traffic during the dead of winter.

Prepare for an emergency.  Keep blankets, flares, a sack of sand for traction, shovel, windshield scraper and brush, tool kip, and cordless phone charger.

When driving under adverse winter conditions:

Take care of pulling out in streets blocked by mountains of snow.  It’s often difficult to see who or what is coming.

Back your car into a driveway so you have a better vision when pulling out.

When waiting to make a left-hand turn, keep wheels pointed straight ahead.  If wheels are turned to the left in anticipation of making the turn and you’re rear-ended, your car will be pushed into the path of oncoming traffic, which could result in a head-on collision.  This is good advice for normal road conditions too.

If you must travel during a severe winter storm:

Don’t travel alone.  Notify someone of your estimated time of arrival as well as your primary and alternative travel routes.

If stuck, stay in your car and wait for help.  Run the engine and heater sparingly.  Also make sure your exhaust pip is clear of snow and ventilate your care so that carbon monoxide fumes won’t poison you.

Keep your energy.  Eat food that provides the body with energy for producing its own heat.  Replenish your body with fluids to prevent dehydration.  Don’t eat snow; it will lower your body temperature.  Melt it first.

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