Driving in winter weather conditions can be hazardous. From hidden layers of ice and impassible snowpack to battling other drivers and obstacles around you, safety can be easily jeopardized in winter conditions on the road. Driving is a dangerous necessity no matter how you look at it, but adding winter weather hazards on top of the ordinary road hazards present during good weather can make safe driving especially challenging. Fortunately, staying safe on the roads during winter conditions can be reduced, in large part, to following some basic safety precautions. Here are the top three simple winter weather driving tips to help keep you safe in snowy, icy conditions.
The first pro tip for safe winter driving is one of the most obvious: reduce your speed. You can’t and shouldn’t drive at the same rate of speed during adverse winter weather conditions. Unfortunately, many drivers fail to slow down to the appropriate speed for the conditions and end up getting involved in accidents. Even a small amount of snow can cause the roads to lose a lot of traction. When temperatures drop and water freezes, roads become even more hazardous. Ice is one of the biggest contributors to winter car accidents, and combined with speed, makes for very dangerous conditions. Assess the state of the roads and plan on driving 10-15 miles per hour less than in normal conditions.
Allocate Extra Transit Time
One of the biggest mistakes people make driving in winter weather is rushing to arrive at their destination in time. Allocate extra time in your commute to navigate snowy, icy roads. When you have the extra time to drive cautiously in inclement weather, you may be less likely to make a careless mistake on the road. Many accidents are caused by hurried driving, so eliminate this potential by giving yourself a few extra minutes in your commute when the roads are in poor condition. Remember, icy roads can compromise any vehicle, so slow down and take your time driving.
Install Snow Tires or Chains
All vehicles can benefit from extra traction in heavy snow. Even vehicles with four or all-wheel drive need additional purchase on the road during these kinds of conditions. Of course, for vehicles with only two-wheel drive, snow tires and chains can be even more important to negotiating harsh road conditions. After a heavy snow or when roads are still very icy, it can be a good idea to upgrade tires or install chains to help improve vehicle handling and overall safety in hazardous conditions.