BLOG NUMBER 24.36
Driving in a snow storm can be terrifying and dangerous. According to studies by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, winter storms, unfavorable weather, and poor road conditions contribute to more than 2,000 fatal wintertime accidents and over half a million crashes overall. Drivers need to be ready in advance to handle crises on winter roads. Swenson Consulting advises motorists to exercise caution when traveling in bad weather.
Driving in snowy and icy conditions? Keep this advice in mind:
Cold Weather Driving Tips
- Keep a variety of winter survival supplies in your vehicle, including additional food and water, warm clothing, a flashlight, a glass scraper, blankets, prescription drugs, and more.
- Never preheat a car in a garage or another enclosed space.
- Make sure your tires have enough tread and are properly inflated.
- Maintain a minimum of half a tank of petrol in your car at all times.
- When driving on a slick surface, such as ice or snow, never utilize the cruise control.
Tips for Driving in the Snow
- Stay home. Only leave the house when absolutely essential. Even if you can drive safely in inclement weather, it’s best to stay inside rather than taking unneeded chances.
- Drive carefully. When driving on snow or ice, you should always reduce your speed to take into consideration the decreased traction.
- Slowly increase and decrease your speed. To regain traction and prevent skids, gradually increase the gas. Avoid trying to accelerate quickly and allow yourself enough time to slow down at stoplights. Keep in mind that slowing down on icy and snowy roads takes more time.
- Keep a following distance of five to six seconds. If you need to stop for any reason, it will require this additional time to come to a complete stop safely.
- Be cognizant of the condition of your brakes. If you don’t have brakes in good to great condition, don’t drive your vehicle in icy or snowy conditions. Keep the heel of your foot firmly planted on the floor when you press down on the brake pedal with the upper part of your foot.
- If you can prevent it, don’t stop. The amount of inertia required to begin moving from a complete stop versus the amount required to begin moving while still rolling differs significantly. Do your best to slow down but keep moving until a traffic light changes.
- Do not try to accelerate up hills. On snow-covered roads, adding more gas will just cause your wheels to spin. Before you get to the hill, try to generate some inertia, and then let that inertia take you to the summit. Reduce your speed as you near the top of the slope and move more slowly as you descend.
- Never let off the gas when ascending a hill. Nothing is worse than attempting to move forward up a hill on an icy road. Before tackling the hill, gain some momentum on a level surface.
Tips for Long-Distance Winter Trips
- Be Prepared: Before embarking on a lengthy journey, have your car inspected by a reputable auto repair shop.
- Stay Alert to the Weather: If poor weather is predicted, check the weather along your route and, if at all feasible, postpone your travel.
- Practice Good Communication: Before you leave, let others know your route, destination, and anticipated arrival time.
If you experience an emergency while driving in inclement weather:
- Continue to be in your car since it offers temporary refuge and makes it simpler for rescuers to find you. In a strong storm, avoid attempting to walk. In blowing snow, it is simple to lose track of your car and get lost.
- Avoid overexerting yourself by paying attention to your body and stopping if you are fatigued when digging out your car.
- Being seen: To signal for help, fasten a piece of brightly colored cloth to your car’s antenna or place it on top of a rolled-up window. If at all feasible, leave the dome light on at night. It will make it simpler for rescuers to find you and just consume a minimal amount of power.
- Clear the Exhaust Pipe: Check to see that snow, ice, or mud are not blocking the exhaust pipe. When the engine is operating, a blocked exhaust pipe can allow lethal carbon monoxide gas to escape into the car’s cabin, creating a dangerous situation for the occupants.
- Keep Warm: Protect your body from the cold by wrapping it in everything you can find. Paper maps, floor mats, and newspapers all fall under this category. Prepare thick clothing and blankets in advance for use in an emergency.
- Conserve Fuel: If at all feasible, only operate the heater and engine for as long as necessary to dispel the chill. This will promote fuel efficiency.
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