Surviving Those Winter Roads
It should be no surprise to anyone that we see a significant rise in road accidents and collisions when winter rolls around. The roads become much less certain, visibility becomes worse due to a lot of bad weather, and it can take a toll on the health of our vehicles. But there’s plenty we can do to make sure that we’re not one of those precautionary tales about winter driving. Here’s how you stay safe, secure, and smart to survive those winter roads.
Whether and where you should go
The first question you need to ask yourself is whether you should be out on the road at all. For instance, if you have a rear-wheel drive vehicle, no winter tires, and you find yourself struggling to get out of the driveway when the roads are icy, it might be a better idea to simply stay where you are or use a vehicle better equipped for the weather. If there have been changes in the weather or you haven’t made a certain trip, especially long-distance ones, there are services like Tripcheck to keep you up to date on any weather warnings or road condition changes. It might be worth considering changing your route from time to time, especially when it comes to dangerous backcountry roads.
Keep a close eye on the car
Proactive maintenance is always a good idea when it comes to making sure that any vehicle is fit to tackle the road, but that’s doubly true in the winter. Rotate your tires and ensure they’re aligned to make sure that you have as much traction in them as possible. Check their pressure regularly. Refill all your fluids and keep topping up your gas tank so you’re at less risk of being stranded in the cold. If any of your warning lights are blinking, now’s the time for diagnostics and a safety check to be sure that all your car’s safety features are in good working order. Finally, make sure you have an emergency kit with you to better help you cope with potential breakdowns.
Dealing with the snow and ice
Of course, there are plenty of adaptations you can make to the car to ensure it’s winter ready, too. Knowing whether you need snow or ice tires is particularly important, as they have two specifically different features to cope with two different kinds of road conditions. Beware that the cold can kill batteries in no time at all, so make sure you get it tested, especially if the car has been left outside when the chill hits. Amongst your gear, it’s seriously worth considering whether or not you should bring a snow shovel. It’s a simple tool that doesn’t see a lot of use through the rest of the year, but having one could make the difference between being stuck and only being slightly delayed.
Preparing for the slide
Knowing how to turn out of a skid is crucial, as shown at SheKnows. As much traction as you might have, if you fail to spot a portion of the road frozen over by black ice, it can easily lead to you losing control. When you do skid, it’s important to keep both hands on the wheel and to quickly identify what caused the skid in the first place. For instance, if you started skidding when you tried to accelerate, take your foot off the gas. If you’re in a rear end skid, steer into the direction of the skid so your car better aligns to stop it. If it’s a front wheel skid, your best bet is to try to straighten the steering wheel and stomp on the brakes.
Every instant counts
It’s not just your car that’s in danger of going out of control, of course. You have to be extra watchful of other drivers, too. You have to give yourself every possible second when it comes to a dangerous situation. Having control for just a few moments more can be enough to extricate yourself from any situation. Keep an awareness of all the traffic around you and keep an eye out for signs of reckless behavior. Avoid distracted driving at all costs by making sure everyone else in the car knows not to demand too much of your attention while you’re driving and by making sure your phone is stored away somewhere safe. Defensive driving is crucial in the winter.
Keep your head in the game
No matter what, don’t let yourself drive when you’re not at full capacity on the road. Avoid drinking and driving by handing your keys to a friend or leaving them at home every time you plan on having a drink. Avoid drowsy driving and be willing to take a cab if you’re feeling tired, even if it’s going to cost you more in the long run. Be aware that cops also know of the increased danger on the road. They’re more likely to stop you if they think you’re under the influence or unfit to drive. Help like Fanney Law Office, PLLC can help you deal with unfair charges, but it’s much better to avoid the situation in general by driving safe. Give yourself as few reasons to be pulled over as possible.
Give yourself plenty of time
Speeding in winter is sure to get you pulled over, as is reckless driving of any kind. Most people don’t make a conscious decision to drive recklessly. They do it because they feel pressured or forced to, often by lateness. You can take the time to figure out better routes, drive at a more reasonable pace, and be more relaxed and aware of the road if you simply take the time and leave a little earlier before you have to get on the road.
When in doubt about your safety during a drive, it might sometimes be a better idea to just call it quits and get off the road. This is not the season to take any unnecessary risks, so let caution be your guiding force.