Winter is no longer coming, it is officially here. Whether you live in a region with heavy snowfall or are planning a ski vacation, you are bound to experience the magic of the winter months at one point or another. While temperatures fall below freezing, there is nothing like seeing the white covered forests, drinking hot chocolate, and walking through a winter wonderland. However, as much as you may love the snow, your car may share a different opinion. With fewer daylight hours, foggy weather, and snowy ice covered roads, driving in the winter can be a challenge for even the most experienced drivers.
What Makes Driving In The Winter So Dangerous?
According to the Federal Highway Administration, over 100,000 people are injured, and over 1,000 people are killed each year due to vehicle accidents in winter conditions. Snow and ice drastically reduce vehicle maneuverability and pavement friction which reduce roadway capacity, lead to longer delays, and increase the risk of crashes.
Biggest Dangers Winter Drivers Face
- Black Ice- Black ice is one of the biggest threats when it comes to winter driving. Since the ice is completely transparent, it blends in with the pavement, providing no warning to oncoming drivers.
- Lack Of Visibility- On top of reduced daylight, winter brings on heavy fogs, making it harder to see. In addition, the white snow can reflect the sun, which could blind drivers.
- Cold Air- Below freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on your car. From tire pressure to reduced battery power, cold air can severely affect your car.
While driving in winter, conditions will always be dangerous, there are things you can do to get to your destination safely and securely. So whether you just moved to a snowy region or are traveling to one of America’s spectacular destinations for a winter getaway, here is everything you need to know to stay safe on snowy roads.
Remove Snow And Ice
The most important thing to do before hitting the road for a winter adventure is to clear off all the snow and ice from your car. First, it is essential to start your vehicle and set your defroster and heat on the highest setting. Then take a scraper and a brush and remove all of the snow and ice from your vehicle, especially from the top of your car, mirrors, lights, and windows. Not only will cleaning your car off improve visibility, but it will protect other drivers from being hot with ice and snow flying off your vehicle.
Drive Slow And Steady
One of the biggest reasons people get in accidents in the snow is because they drive too fast. If the road is covered with snow and ice, it is crucial to decrease your speed and take it slow. Faster speeds will cause your tires to slide on snow and ice. However, driving at slower speeds will make up for the loss in traction on the road.
While minimizing distractions in all driving conditions is crucial, it is especially important when driving through the snow. Not only do you have to be aware of the conditions of the road, but you have to be cautious of other drivers that may be out of control. One look at your text messages or just trying to change a song while you are in motion can have dire consequences.
Keep an Extra Tank Of Gas
On top of keeping your car’s tank full of gas, consider investing in a spare gas can for emergencies. Depending on the severity of the storm, you could end up getting stuck on the road for hours. For example, a 2018 snowstorm in New Jersey left people stranded for over 6 hours. You could risk being stuck even longer if you run out of gas.
Look Out For Black Ice
As stated above, black ice is one of the most dangerous aspects of driving through the snow. During the day, the sunlight may melt the ice on the road, but at night, it freezes, causing unsafe road conditions. If the road ahead looks wet, it is most likely covered in black ice, and you must drive with extreme caution.
Invest In Sand and A Shovel
No matter how careful you are, there is always a chance you could get stuck. Keeping a bag of sand and a shovel in your trunk can help you get out of sticky situations. All you have to do is clear away snow from around your tires with the shovel and lay sand near your tires to improve traction.
Make Sure You Are Insured
Driving through winter conditions can increase your chances of being in an accident. Therefore it is essential to make sure you are properly insured before hitting the road. If you are in the market for new affordable insurance, see how much you can save by comparing your rates today.
Whenever you are driving in winter conditions, it is essential to be proactive. Following these guidelines and preparing yourself before you drive can help ensure your safety.