Driving safely in winter conditions such as snow, ice and sleet presents some of the toughest challenges even for experienced drivers. A fair amount of holiday travel falls within this season, so it is sometimes impossible to avoid driving when conditions are less than desirable. However, there are steps every driver can take to learn how to drive more effectively in winter conditions to ensure a safe arrival at their destination.
One smart way to be a more effective winter driver is to be alert to changing weather conditions before even setting out on the road, either for a quick trip to the market or a longer road trip to visit family and friends. Check weather reports online, on the radio or from a local TV weatherman to avoid unpleasant surprises. In addition, you should check to see if there are any road closures due to weather on your planned route.
Keep both your car and your body well-fuelled when driving in winter weather. This means a full tank of gas in case driving conditions cause you to take detours or drive longer than expected and keep protein snacks or beverages in the car to help keep you alert. It’s also smart to keep some key pieces of winter equipment in your car, including cat litter or a bag of road salt for traction on ice, an ice scraper with brush to clear the windshields, rope strong enough for towing, a flashlight, a portable radio, and a can of reliable de-icer for the car locks.
Reduce your speed on the road by as much as fifty per cent during winter driving conditions so you can stop quickly if necessary. But don’t go too slow, as driving on snow-covered roads does require a certain speed to keep up the momentum of your vehicle. Review the steps to recovering from a skid before it actually happens. This means keeping off the brakes once the skid begins and steering your car gently in the direction that you want the front wheels to go.
Tyres with little tread left are a major cause of winter weather accidents. Invest in cheap tyres that are well constructed by shopping for a good deal online. All the better if you are willing to invest in better than cheap tyres that will stand up to the cold and snow of winter conditions by purchasing quality brand tyres prior to winter when they are usually on sale at nice discounts. Ensure that tyres are properly inflated since cold weather tends to reduce tire pressure.
Drivers can also practice more effective winter driving by getting a car tune-up at the start of the season to ensure that wiper blades, heater, mechanical parts and oil and other essential fluids are all at proper levels to avoid breakdowns on icy, snowy roads.