Tips for Driving Safely in the Snow
For children, news of an impending winter storm brings plenty of excitement and gleeful anticipation of a potential day off from school. As adults, we tend to dread winter weather because it means freezing temperatures, back-breaking shoveling, and trudging into work through treacherous road conditions. If at all possible, it’s best to stay home during a snowstorm, but if you have to drive in snow, keep the following tips in mind to stay safe.
Properly Prepare Your Vehicle
One of the most important things you can do to help ensure a safe trip in winter weather is properly preparing your car or truck to take on snowy conditions before you ever hit the road. Having auto insurance coverage is always crucial, but particularly so in the winter. This is because accidents and injuries are much more prevalent in snowy weather. Before snow even arrives, it’s also a good idea to winterize your vehicle. Keep your gas tank at least half full to prevent freezing, fill up your windshield washer fluid reservoir, switch to an oil with a thinner viscosity for better circulation during cold weather, and double check that you have the proper amount of antifreeze in your radiator. You should also be sure to test your tire pressure because cold weather causes the air pressure in your vehicle’s tires to drop. Once a snowstorm does strike, take the time to clean your car of snow and ice before driving.
Winter driving takes longer than your usual commute, so leave early to give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination. When you’re on the road, maintain a slow and steady pace. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, freeway speeds are reduced by 3 to 13 percent in light snow and by 5 to 40 percent in heavy snow. However, a safe rule of thumb is to always reduce your speed by at least 1/3, if not 1/2, in snow, slush, or ice. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Remember that arriving late is better than getting into a costly accident and potentially injuring yourself or others.
When you accelerate or decelerate, do so slowly. Applying sudden pressure to your gas or brake pedal could result in a skid or slide. Also be sure to take turns with extra caution, as it’s easy to slip or spin during a turn on a slushy road.
Maintain a Safe Distance from Other Vehicles
Even if you decelerate slowly, it’s still possible to go into a skid when slowing or stopping your vehicle, so you’ll want to have as much space as possible between your car and the vehicle in front of you. Rear-end collisions are incredibly common during winter weather, and most of them can be easily prevented with the right precautions. Maintaining a safe distance can go a long way toward staying out of a crash. Experts recommend that you keep an 8 to 10-second gap between your vehicle and the one you’re following.
Make Sure You Have the Right Coverage
If you aren’t quite sure about the quality of your existing auto insurance policy, you should take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with your coverage. Liability for auto accidents can be a huge headache. That’s why making sure you’re covered is important, particularly during the winter months when your chances of getting into an accident are higher. Don’t hesitate to contact The Seltzer Group today for a personalized auto insurance quote. We’ll make sure you have the coverage you need to feel at ease on the roads this winter!