Winter driving can be scary as well as dangerous. One moment of inattention and you may find yourself in a dangerous situation. With spring a whole season away, this is a good time to review some expert tips and tricks for staying safe on the road. Here are the top ways to keep yourself, your passengers and your car safe and intact this winter.
In bad weather, even the tiniest lapse of focus can send you spinning off the road. This means keeping your phone switched off while driving. It also means keeping both hands on the wheel instead of changing the radio station or digging for a map in the glove box. Avoid drinking or eating behind the wheel, especially a hot beverage. Teach kids the importance of being quiet in the car, so as not to distract the driver from the mission at hand.
Maintain a Safe Speed
Triple A reports that the majority of winter weather auto accidents are the result of excessive speed. It’s difficult enough to maintain control in a winter storm or on icy roads when you’re moving slowly. Excess speed can cause your tires, already lacking in traction, to lose their grip on the road altogether. A patient driver is one who arrives alive, particularly in bad weather.
Keep Your Car in Tip-Top Shape
Having your car serviced and checked regularly will prevent unexpected breakdowns but it will also allow you to drive more safely on bad roads. Keeping your tires rotated and properly inflated, for example, will provide the maximum amount of traction. Ensuring that your car’s battery is in good shape means you’re less likely to be stranded and unable to start the engine.
Know What to Do in an Emergency
Do you know what to do in the event of a spin or skid? There are different approaches depending on whether you have front-wheel or rear-wheel drive, but you won’t have time to think about it when trouble strikes. Learn how to handle your car and practice your reactions so you’ll be ready. Learn first aid and other emergency response skills too, including how to survive if you become stranded in the snow.
Pack a Safety Kit
Winter or summer, keep a fully stocked emergency kit in your car. Consumer Reports recommends including a first-aid kit, fire extinguisher, flares or battery-powered warning lights, a tire gauge, jack, lug wrench, tire sealant, jumper cables, battery charger, gloves, water, energy bars, basic tools and warm blankets.
Have Body Repairs Done Promptly
Even if you practice every safety measure and observe all the common-sense tips in the world, emergencies can still happen. If you follow these basic tips, you and your passengers should come through safe and intact. Unfortunately your vehicle may not be so fortunate. If your car takes a beating at the hands of bad winter roads, it’s important to have body damage repaired as quickly as possible. Left untouched, dents and paint scratches have no protection from roadway moisture and salt. Rust will quickly set it and even small areas of damage can become significant, requiring more expensive repairs later and even reducing your car’s value. Don’t wait for springtime to have your winter auto body damage repaired.