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Snow looks pretty from afar…but nobody wants to see it on their car. Unless you live in the Deep South or parts of the West, however, chances are you’ll see some of the white stuff coating your streets this winter season. Indeed, according to the Federal Highway Administration, a staggering 70 percent of America’s roadways get at least five inches of snow every year.
As you could imagine, harsh winter weather causes a lot of safety issues for American drivers. And we’re not just talking about snow. Frigid temps, black ice, slush, potholes…all of these “winter wonders” are responsible for thousands of traffic collisions. Indeed, it’s estimated 1,300 people die every year in motor vehicle crashes on snowy, icy, and/or slushy roads.
Although the best advice is to simply remain at home, sometimes you can’t avoid a snowy ride. If you are going to drive in potentially dangerous weather, then you should look through the winter driving tips below. Following all of these suggestions will significantly improve your safety even in the snowiest of conditions.
Six Pro Tips for Safe Winter Driving
Hold Your Horsepower: Slow Down In The Snow
One of the few things we can control when traveling in snowy conditions is our speed. Driving at a slower pace will make it easier to successfully navigate treacherous terrain and reduce the risk of swerving.
So, just how slow should you go? Experts at the US Department of Transportation recommend traveling at half the posted speed limit in snowy conditions. Just be sure you don’t use your cruise control during inclement weather. You want to be able to constantly adjust your acceleration and braking to the ever-changing circumstances.
Regularly Check Your Tire Pressure
With more cold air in the atmosphere, the chances your car’s tires will constrict and deflate are extremely high. To avoid this common scenario, mechanics recommend checking your car’s tire pressure at least once per week, especially when it’s particularly cold outside.
Always try to keep your tires’ pressure within the manufacturer’s recommended range. If you live in a state known for extremely cold temps, then you might want to consider investing in tires designed to handle winter weather.
Get Your Battery Winter Ready
Car batteries really don’t like the chill. Indeed, AAA estimates a typical car battery loses about 35 percent of its juice in 32°F conditions. Simply starting your car in the cold requires about twice as much effort as during the warmer months.
Definitely get your battery professionally checked before winter rolls around if you have any concerns. Anyone with car batteries between three and five years old should seriously consider getting a battery replacement.
Believe it or not, there are devices called “battery warmers” that, well, keep your battery warm during the winter. Be sure to ask your auto mechanic if he or she recommends using a battery warmer for your car.
Be Patient with Other Drivers
Especially if you live in a tourist destination or somewhere like Florida where snowbirds flock, be patient with other drivers on the road. Hancock Injury Attorneys provides these safe driving tips for avoiding car accidents in areas (like Sarasota) with increased winter road volume.
Prepare For The Worst: What To Pack In Your Car
No matter how many driving strategies we put in place, there are no guarantees we won’t get stranded in the snow. While it might seem unlikely, you don’t want to get trapped in this condition without essential survival tools.
Here are a few things you should keep in your car during the winter season:
Of course, it’s also important to have a fully charged cell phone with you to call for emergency help.
Don’t Leave Others Out In The Cold: Notifying Friends & Family
On top of packing survival provisions, you must let others know your whereabouts when traveling in snowy conditions. All you have to do is text or call a few friends or family members letting them know when and where you’re going.
In the event you’re stuck in the slush and can’t reach out for help, your contacts can call 911 on your behalf. Of course, this will dramatically speed up emergency response time and improve the odds you’ll survive your snowy crash.
Additional Tips On Winter Driving Safety
Looking for more advice on driving in wintery conditions? Thankfully, there are many professional webpages that can help you prepare for the hazards of this season. First, be sure to check out this comprehensive post put together by AAA. The National Safety Council also organized a webpage dedicated to winter driving preparation on this link. Lastly, you could read through this one-page pamphlet sponsored by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
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