Tips for Safe Winter Driving
Well it looks like a white Christmas may be out of the question this year. However, you never know what the weather will hold. We could even see snow in the next few days!
With that in mind I have been thinking about winter driving. I remember a few years after I moved to the Owensboro area we had a pretty hefty snow. On some of the less traveled roads, the conditions were not very good. My family’s car ended up stuck on the side of the road and we had to get a friend’s tractor to give us a ride home (and later to get the car out of the snow)!
I have seen several pieces of information over the last few days about winter driving and thought I would pass it along. Our friends at Kentucky Farm Bureau passed along these tips:
Items to check to help your vehicle’s performance
- Tire treads
- Air pressure
- Fluid levels
- Windshield wipers
- Gas tank
- Headlights, mirrors, and windows
- Check road conditions – Depending on the severity of the storm, some roads may be closed, blocked or extremely backed up. Plan the best route to travel before leaving home.
- Allow extra travel time – When wintry weather covers Kentucky roads, everyone’s commute time slows down. Drivers should take the time to completely uncover their vehicle, leave early whenever possible and allow plenty of time to arrive at their destination.
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly – Vehicles can better grip the road and avoid slipping if both the gas pedal and brake are applied slowly. A vehicle will not get moving – or slow down – quickly in the snow and ice.
- Leave more space between vehicles – Coming to a complete stop in the snow may require up to four times as much room as it would in dry conditions. Avoid crashes by allowing more space on the road.
- Practice driving in the snow – When it does snow, locate an empty section of a parking lot and become familiarized with the way vehicles handle in the snow. This is especially helpful for inexperienced drivers learning how to drive in wintry conditions for the first time.
I also saw these tips from the Kentucky State Police:
Here are a few simple steps to help keep you on the road and less stressed.
- AVOID TRAVEL UNLESS NECESSARY WHEN WINTER WEATHER IS IN YOUR AREA.
- DECREASE SPEED.
- WEAR YOUR SEATBELT.
- Leave early – allow more travel time; expect delays.
- Increase distance between vehicles – it takes significantly longer to stop on snow covered or icy roadways.
- Clear all windows on your vehicle prior to travel – having unobstructed vision is vital to avoid running off of the road or having a collision.
- Illuminate your vehicles headlamps.
- Use caution on bridges and overpasses as they susceptible to freezing before roadways.
- Avoid using cruise control – cruise can cause the vehicle’s wheels to continue turning on a slippery surface when speed needs to be decreased.
- Ensure your vehicle has a full tank of gas in the event you are stranded for an extended period of time.
- Charge your cellular phone prior to departure.
- Take a blanket.
- Notify a family member or a friend of your travel plans prior to departure – if you travel is interrupted, someone will know
- Be patient – weather also limits our capabilities and increases our response time; also, keep in mind that we will be experiencing a high volume of requests for service.
- Attempt to move your vehicle out of the roadway if you are involved in a minor, non-injury traffic collision; especially if you are in a dangerous area such as a curve or a blind hill.
- If your vehicle is stranded or wrecked but not in the roadway, attempts to recover your vehicle will have to wait until conditions improve for safety considerations.
Above all, safety is the most important thing this holiday season. So stay safe and have a Merry Christmas!