Sometimes when winter weather hits, we don’t have a choice except to drive in it. Although it is advised not to drive in snow or ice, it is best to follow a few basic safety principles if you do have to get out in the winter conditions:
Do not use cruise control.
Cruise control easily takes your attention away from driving. When you are driving in winter weather, you need to be fully focused on the road in front of you.
Always wear your seat belt.
As we have discussed in previous articles, wearing your seat belt can truly save your life in the event of an accident.
Accelerate and decelerate slowly.
Did you know that it takes your car longer to slow down on icy roads? By accelerating and decelerating slower, it allows your vehicle to regain traction and avoid skids.
Drive much slower than usual.
It can be much harder to control your vehicle on slick roads, so driving slower can reduce your risk of an accident.
Do not follow too closely.
Remember, it is going to take you longer to stop in winter conditions than it does on normal, dry roads if someone slams on their breaks. Leave plenty of room between you and the car in front of you.
Don’t power up hills.
Just like on flat roads, you need to accelerate much slower than usual. Try to build up enough inertia while on flat roads to take you up hill.
Don’t stop on hills.
Stopping on hills will cause you more harm than good.
Stay alert and put away distractions.
As always, it is of your best interest to put away the distractions and stay alert while driving in winter weather. Don’t forget, it is now Georgia Law to be hands-free.
Never assume that you know what another driver is going to do.
Although you may feel confident in driving winter conditions, everyone does not. You never know what move another driver is going to make. Stay alert and focused so that you can keep yourself safe.
Keep your gas tank full when winter weather is expected.
Traffic conditions will be heavier than normal, and it can take you much longer to get home. Running out of gas on the interstate during a winter storm is not how you want to spend your snow day.
If you become stranded or stuck in winter weather conditions:
Stay with your car unless safety is close by.
Don’t overexert yourself.
Keep your entire body warm, using blankets, extra clothes, etc.
Stay awake and keep moving so that you do not contract any winter weather health problems.
Make yourself visible. If available, put bright markers on your antenna or windows so that emergency personnel can find you.
Only run your car motor for approximately ten minutes per hour and open a window slightly for air.
Ensure that snow is not blocking your exhaust pipe so that you are not at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning.
For a list of a winter weather emergency kit essentials, click here.
For ways to prepare your home for winter weather, click here.