Winter Driving: 5 Tips to Keep You Safe on the Road

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It’s that time of year where we turn the clocks back and the days get shorter, colder, and snowier. That also means a big difference in our time on the roads. Winter driving vs summer driving is vastly different. Here are some ways to prepare for these winter months.

Check Your Lights

When you leave work at 5 PM, you will notice an obvious difference in your commute: it’s dark outside! Don’t forget to check your headlights and your taillights so that your fellow commuters can see that you are on the road heading home. Yes, make sure they work but you can also see how the bulbs rate. Not all headlights are created equal and you might want to consider an upgrade so you can see everything out there!

Emergency Supplies

Depending on where you live in the county, snow and the cold can be a very large problem. Make sure you have emergency supplies handy in your car like flashlights, jumper cables, flares, and a phone charger in case you get stuck and need to call for help. Ice scrapers and shovels may be necessary to dig your car out going to and from work. I cannot emphasize the importance enough of a full tank of gas and a blanket should you become stranded to maintain warmth in freezing conditions.

Tires and Brakes

Take a look at your treads to make sure you aren’t driving on bald tires. It is usually recommended to have your tires rotated every six months or 6-8,000 miles. Also see how those brakes feel. It doesn’t hurt to get them checked, especially if you need to get an oil change or that tire rotation anyway.

Don’t Push the Speed Limit

You’re not driving in optimum conditions, so don’t drive at optimum speed. Maintain a safe speed that allows you plenty of reaction and stopping time. Give yourself more of a cushion between yourself and the cars in front of you, as stopping time will greatly increase in worse than normal conditions. If you’re going too fast, your brakes may cause you to go into a slide or fishtail. If that happens, remember to go with the slide and not turn the wheel against it.

Plan Ahead

Treat the weather as a factor in your day when possible.  Look at forecasts and weather reports so you know what you’re in for.  You may have to leave earlier to stay ahead of bad weather or simply to deal with being stuck in it. Alternatively, pick your battles wisely, if you don’t need to go out in bad weather, simply don’t.

 

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