Winter Driving Tips
Winter driving can often deliver a mixed bag of driving conditions. Some days, the roads may be dry and the skies clear, others may be snowy and high winds, while others can be icy with instantly freezing slushy snow. As a driver, you need to be prepared for all those conditions – often in rapid succession with other conditions. In order to better prepare to handle winter conditions, we have created a list of the most important winter driving tips. If you follow all of these tips, you’ll statistically be better prepared for any condition that winter can throw at you!
Get Winter Tires
Effective January 1, 2016, insurance providers offer a discount for drivers who have winter tires. Not only does having them save you on your insurance, but they cut your chance of accidents. They shorten your braking distance by as much as 25% and help keep traction to the road. Simply put, one of the best winter driving tips is to get winter tires!
Look Farther Ahead Than Normal
By being aware of what’s further down the road than you usually would, you will actually react better as you pass those locations. While this may seem like common sense advice, too many people only look at the immediate meters in front of them.
Have a Winter Survival Kit
If you do get into trouble, having a winter survival kit in your car will give you peace of mind. Your kit should include items that will help you get unstuck, keep you warm, and give you the resources to stay in your care for 24-48 hours. Items should include sand or salt, antifreeze, a tow rope, jumper cables, a fire extinguisher and road flares. Other items to have include food, water, a blanket, extra clothing, a first aid kit, a small shovel, candles and matches, a flashlight, a map, a radio and a whistle.
Defrost Your Windows Properly
Knowing how to properly defrost windows is crucial. Get to know your cars system and what works best. Keep in mind that Air Conditioning will reduce the humidity in your car (that causes fogging).
Clear All the Snow from Your Car
Snow on your roof can be a nightmare for cars behind you if it flies off. As you wouldn’t want to experience that yourself, make sure to clear ALL the snow from your car before driving.
Check Your Fluids
Make sure to keep the crucial fluids in your car topped up. Also, make sure to carry extra in your car. Windshield washer fluid can be especially useful in the winter.
Pump Your Tires
Each 6-degrees Celsius the temperature drops, you will lose 1 PSI in your tires. As the weather shifts from summer to fall, and then fall to winter – make sure you’re checking the pressure. Inflate them to make up the difference especially as the temperature drops below zero.
Always Run Your Lights
Day running lights are often fine during normal conditions, however, during winter run your main lights. Not only does it better illuminate the roads for yourself, but it helps other drivers as well.
Don’t Use Cruise Control
You need to be aware of the road conditions, and cruise control can lull you into a false sense of security. Instead, avoid using it altogether and actively monitor the road.
Practice Slide Recovery
If you’ve never experienced losing control before, get some practice. Head to a nearby empty parking lot, and practice skidding and regaining control. The experience can be terrifying when you’re in it unexpectedly, but if you know what to expect you’ll be better able to drive out of it.
Bridges are More Dangerous
As bridges have more surface area, they cool down far faster than a regular road. As such, bridge conditions often become bad even when all the other roads are fine. Slow down when you come to any bridge.
Winter driving should always come with an unwritten rule of adding 15 minutes to every hour. Slowing down is one of the best ways to handle winter driving. It will allow you more time to react and gives your car more traction control.
Winter Boots are Bad for Driving
Clunky winter boots aren’t well designed for winter driving. They slow your reaction time and can be an encumbrance. Instead, consider having a pair of driving shoes that you change into and out of as needed.