Severe blizzards, slippy roads, and impenetrable snow can wreak havoc on drivers which is why there are over 2,000 road deaths every winter according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
To ensure you’re confident weathering the storm and to avoid injury, we’ve compiled 7 tips for driving in the snow.
Before the worst of winter arrives, a top tip for driving in the snow is to get your car checked either by a professional or yourself.
For example, your tires must have enough tread to grip the snow and you can use a quarter to check this. If the tip of George Washington’s head is barely visible, you’re in the clear.
You should also use the correct engine oil for winter. Most vehicles have year-round oil that’s rated 5W-30 or 0W-20. The “W” stands for winter and the low number means its light oil can flow easily in cold temperatures, so it’s easier for your engine to crank over and start.
You should top off your vehicle’s fluids such as the windshield washer fluid and engine antifreeze. But call a professional to survey your brake fluid, power steering fluid, and transmission fluid.
Also, test the heater. If it’s weak in good weather, you know it won’t keep you warm enough when winter conditions get worse.
Out of all the winter driving safety tips, it’s important to widen the gap between you and other vehicles. Normal following distance in the dry is 3 to 4 seconds but you should increase that to 8 to 10 seconds in the snow.
This larger margin of safety gives you a longer distance if you need to stop.
One of the major tips for driving in snow is to keep a bag of cold-weather gear in your car such as extra food and water, warm clothing, a flashlight, grass scraper, medications, and blankets.
Take snow boots so your feet stay dry if you have to get out of the car. Bring two pairs of big socks in the winter. If you become stranded, you can use them to cover your windshield wipers overnight so they don’t ice up and become unusable.
Ensure you have plenty of fuel in the gas tank so you can run the engine to stay warm during delays. But don’t run it continuously; only enough to put warmth back into the passenger compartment.
Also, for extra precaution, carry a long orange piece of fabric to tie to your antenna or door handle to show you need help. You could also get a collection of reflective triangles so place outside the vehicle and a reflective vest to wear if you get stuck and need to leave.
Head to the largest auto parts stores nationwide as they will test your battery and charging system for free.
They will also give you a printout of its status.
Before you start driving, geat all the snow and ice off your vehicle otherwise it will avalanche onto your windshield when you slow down.
It’s also dangerous for other drivers because, as you drive, the snow could come off and blanket the windshield of the car behind. It’s also important to keep your brake lights and turn signals as free of snow as possible.
Information like this is what to expect with driving school as instructors ensure all bases are covered especially if you live in a cold climate.
Many people have switched to automatic but there are plenty of teens who drive older models as they’re cheaper.
Luckily, those vehicles with manual transmissions can handle bad weather better. Instead of starting in first gear, tell your teen to start in second when it’s snowing.
Second gear means the wheels can go slower yet have more power so there’s less chance of spinning out.
To ensure your winter driver safety, always slow down. Although it’s a no-brainer for many, new drivers may think they’re fine as long as they’re going at the speed limit.
Instead, apply the gas to slowly regain traction and avoid skidding. Every driving maneuver takes longer in the snow so take your time and avoid the natural instinct to get home quicker.
Don’t stop completely if you can avoid it. There’s a large major difference between the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop with how much it takes to get moving when you’re still rolling. So if you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do this instead.
Another important one to add to your winter driving tips is to only go out if necessary. Even if you can drive well in bad weather, avoid taking risks by venturing out.
To avoid injury or damage to your car, you must follow these tips for driving in the snow. Before winter fully descends, check your car to ensure the battery is running and that it’s safe to take on the roads during bad weather.
Always come prepared with provisions such as warm clothes and food in case you get stranded. And if the weather is too bad or looks like it will get worst, don’t go out. Happy driving!
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