Snow and ice are among the worst conditions you can encounter while behind the wheel. In fact, snow, sleet, and ice account for 44% of weather-related crashes and 33% of weather-related fatalities. So if you’re afraid of driving in bad weather, you’re not alone! To stay safe on the road and cut down on your chance of having an accident, here are some pro tips for driving safely on snow and ice.
Keep up with routine maintenance
Keeping your car in top operating condition is important as a general rule, but it is vital for driving in ice and snow. Maintenance issues with your car could become exacerbated by dangerous winter driving conditions. Some things you want to ensure are in good working order before hitting the road in winter are your windshield wipers, your tires, your brakes and your heating system.
Slow down and back off
Snow and ice on the road can make it much harder to slow down and much easier to lose control of your vehicle. That’s why it’s important when driving in winter weather to lower your speed and increase the distance between you and other cars. Slowing down and staying farther away from cars in front of you gives you more time and room to stop, something that can be very important on roads that are covered in ice and snow. A good rule of thumb is to double your following distance from what it normally would be.
Accelerate and decelerate slowly
When you accelerate quickly or slam on your brakes, you are more likely to slip and slide on icy or snowy roads. When driving in such conditions, you should make sure to accelerate slowly after stopping at traffic signals and brake much earlier much more slowly than you usually would. This will help to prevent you from losing control of your vehicle.
Focus on the road
Avoiding distractions is key in all driving conditions, but especially when you are dealing with snow and ice. You need your complete focus to be on the road, so you want to refrain from using your cell phone or any other electronic devices. You also should refrain from messing with your radio or messing with your hair or makeup.
When roads are snowy and icy, you should avoid driving if at all possible. That’s not always possible, though, and if you do have to drive in winter conditions, it’s important to follow these tips. Doing so can help you stay safe and avoid getting into an accident.