You’re late for Christmas dinner at your in-laws. You bundle the kids up, get them in their car seats and open the garage door, only to see that the snow is really coming down hard now. But you’re late. So you drive a little faster than you should, perhaps, but you’re used to winter driving and you’ve driven this route a thousand times. You take that corner at the end of your block just a little too fast and slide into a telephone pole. No one is hurt, but the evening is shot and your holiday is ruined.
If you live in a wintry climate where snow both in the air and on the roads is a regular occurrence, it’s easy to get complacent about driving under these conditions. But such complacency can quickly turn tragic: winter drivers should always keep their guards up and be mindful of the possibility of accidents: here are some snow safety solutions for keeping you and your car accident-free.
Make sure your car is ready
Many winter accidents could easily be prevented if car owners would simply take the time to prepare their vehicles for driving under adverse conditions. Make an appointment with your mechanic and have your brakes checked; if your tires are worn, it is definitely worth the investment to replace them. Carry snow chains in your car, if necessary, and always keep an extra gallon of washer fluid handy.
More than ever, it’s imperative that you keep an eye on what others are doing on the road as well as yourself. Even if you are a safe driver, you are always at risk from others who are not. Keep your windshields and mirrors defrosted and completely clear so that you have maximum visibility. Remember, driving an all-wheel or 4-wheel drive vehicle does not mean that you will not slide out if you choose to drive too fast for conditions. Use common sense.
Move deliberately at low speeds
Many fender benders during winter months occur at traffic signals or at intersections with stop signs. Always accelerate slowly to avoid spinning your tires or sliding your vehicle’s rear into the car next to yours. Sudden starts and stops are culprits for mishaps too: always keep a two-car distance between you and the vehicle in front of you whenever possible. When you need to stop, start braking at least two car lengths behind the person ahead.
Of course, you should always have emergency gear on hand should an accident occur: warm blankets, water, jumper cables, and a flashlight should be kept in the trunk at all times. A little preparation, common sense, and a dose of respect for Mother Nature will go a long way toward helping you enjoy an accident-free winter driving season.