Helpful Tips for Winter Driving
Driving in winter weather presents many challenges. With no falling snow, snow buildup, or hard-to-see ice on the road, driving in other seasons means drivers have fewer vehicle issues and visibility problems to deal with. Some of the most dangerous winter road conditions include slushy and snowy pavement, ice on roads, and black ice, the thin layer of ice on top of pavement that is hard to see but affects your ability to handle your vehicle.
Other winter road conditions that make driving dangerous are freezing rain, thick fog, and heavy snowfall. It’s best not to drive in these conditions when it’s avoidable, but if you do have to drive in winter weather, there are many things you can do to stay safe.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), 17 percent of all vehicle crashes happen in the winter. Safe winter driving requires preparation and a change in driving habits.
Prepare for Winter Driving
According to the NHTSA, preparing for winter driving includes checking the battery, lights, cooling system, windshield wipers, and tires.
- Check how new or old your battery is with purchase or repair receipts, and consider replacing very old batteries before winter driving.
- Have the battery and charging system checked by a mechanic and make any necessary repairs.
- Check that all lights are working properly, including headlights and tail lights.
- Replace any bulbs that appear old or faulty.
- Check the coolant in the radiator per the vehicle’s manual.
- Check for leaks and drain and replace the coolant if it’s old.
- Windshield wipers play an important role in safe driving for visibility and should be in good working condition without worn, bent, or broken blades.
- Defrosters should work well in addition to wipers, and fill wiper reservoirs with winter wiper fluid.
- Tires that are bald, very worn, or have uneven wear make winter driving more difficult and dangerous and should be repaired or replaced before winter snowstorms hit.
- Inspect tires for tread wear, damage to sidewalls such as cuts, punctures, or cracks that need attention, and proper inflation.
- If you are in an area that gets severe winter weather, consider installing snow tires in the fall.
- Stock cold-weather supplies in your vehicle for winter driving. Keep warm clothing, blankets, extra ice scrapers, a shovel, flashlights, medication, and food and water.
- Check your car emergency roadside kit for flares, fix-a-flat, and a spare tire.
Helpful Tips for Winter Driving:
- Slow down and drive at lower speeds at which you have control over your car’s traction and stopping ability.
- Be careful stopping and starting, being very aware of the gas and brake pedals during winter road conditions to avoid skidding and losing control of the vehicle.
- Stay away from other vehicles when you can, leaving as much room between your car and other cars.
- Use extra caution going up and down hills and avoid them when possible.
At Kyle Insurance Group, we want to help you with your insurance needs. If you have questions, please feel free to call us today.