We all love the white crystals that fall from the sky. They provide endless entertainment in the forms of sledding, skiing, and building snowmen. However, while snow is soft and melts in our hands, the pure white fluff provides dangers, too, especially on the road.
When it comes to snowy weather, we want to make sure you’re prepared for its unpredictability. Below are handy snow-driving tips to keep you and your family safe this season.
So stay alert, slow down, stay in control, and don’t let the snow drive you off the road!
Get a Maintenance Check-up – Before the snow and below-zero weather strikes, schedule a maintenance check-up! It’s important to make sure your car’s tires and tire pressure, battery, belts and hoses, radiator, oil, lights, brakes, exhaust system, heater/defroster, wipers, and ignition system are working properly. If your tire pressure is too low, it can cause steering problems on the road, and you want to make sure your brakes pick up enough friction so you don’t slide off.
Fill Gas Tank – It’s easy to fall victim to waiting until our gaslight comes on to fill up our gas tank. However, during the colder months, it’s necessary to keep the gas tank half full at all times. If your tank reaches low levels, gas line freeze-ups may occur. So keep that gas pumping!
Gently Pump Brakes When Stopping – When it comes to slowing down, avoid a quick stop in snowy weather. Pump your breaks and slowly come to a halt. It creates more friction and will help keep you from losing control. Also, avoid using your parking brakes in snowy, cold, or rainy weather, and if the tires lock, take your foot off the brake pedal. It’s the little things that make driving in the snow safe.
Keep Windows and Lights Clear – Before you start driving, clear your windows and lights of any ice or snow with an ice scraper or brush. That means your windshield, side windows, headlights and rear brake lights. Then when you get into the car, turn your front and rear defrost on to make sure your windows don’t fog up inside and obstruct your view. Without a clear view, messes can happen easily.
Accelerate and Decelerate Slowly – Remember, there is no need to rush. It takes longer to slow down on icy roads, so you should always be accelerating and decelerating slowly to regain traction and avoid skids. When it comes to snowy and icy weather, slow and steady wins the race!
Maintain Plenty of Space Between Cars – It’s a good rule to keep a following distance of eight to ten seconds or two to three car lengths when you’re driving in wintery conditions. Don’t try to pass other vehicles and stay away from cruise control.
Skid Properly – Skidding is scary, but it’s critical to remain calm and remember what to do when or if it happens. If the rear end or front end of the car begins to skid, remove your foot from the accelerator and steer out of the skid by turning your wheel in the direction you want the car to turn. Turn it in the opposite direction if the car over-recovers from the skid. Don’t ever brake while in the skid because it can lock up your wheels and cause you to slide further!
Make a Safety Kit – Prepare, prepare, and prepare some more! It’s always good to plan ahead in the event an incident arises. Creating a safety kit that you can store in your car is the first step. Put a sleeping bag, some flashlights, trash bags, a lighter, cash, car charger, and some hand warmers in the kit. You can add other items that you think you might need in case your car gets stuck in the snow, too. That way, you won’t freeze up when your car does.
We know the snow is all fun and games until we start driving in it. So if you have a brain freeze on the road and need help, check out our website http://madisonmutual.com/ or give us a call 1-800-766-MMIC! We don’t want the snow to make you feel ice-solated!