Driving in the snow is risky business. Studies have shown that winter is the worst time of year for automobile related injuries and accidents. Defensive driving can keep you safer in the snow if you pay attention. Here are seven tips that will help you reach your destination unharmed.
Make sure to travel with your cellphone, a blanket, a shovel, and an ice scraper. Inspect your car before hitting the road to ensure it’s stocked with wiper fluid and antifreeze. It’s also a good idea to let your vehicle warm up a little before driving.
Snow tires have a tread design specifically tailored for hostile winter conditions. Installing winter tires will give you lots of traction on snow and ice, and will also extend the life of your warm weather tires.
Four wheel drive
If possible, drive a vehicle equipped with Four Wheel Drive. According to a Portland car accident attorney, this won’t help you brake any faster, but it will give you more acceleration power if you get stuck in the snow.
In particularly nasty weather, you may need to fashion your tires with snow chains. This means you’ll need to make sure you have the right size chains, and that you have plenty of practice putting them on.
Test the road
Add pressure to the gas until your wheels start to spin, paying close attention to how much you can accelerate before your tires lose control. Now step on your brakes and see how much pressure you can apply before your vehicle begins to skid. Do these tests slowly and carefully.
Follow the leader
If there is a vehicle driving in front of you, use it to your advantage by following in its tire tracks. This will give you more traction. It’s important to remember to allow the vehicle in front of you plenty of space, just in case it needs to stop suddenly.
Drive with caution
Never yank the wheel back and forth in a panic, as this will only make things worse. Stick to your safe speeds, and don’t over-rely on snow tires and chains. You should not be speeding for any reason in snowy weather. Be courteous to your fellow snow drivers, as they are in the same uncomfortable position as you.
While defensive driving skills will improve your odds considerably, sometimes accidents are inevitable. If you find yourself in a fender bender with another motorist, exchange insurance information and get on the phone with your lawyer.
You can also check Winter drive for more online courses.
Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy.