Winter is upon us, and that means driving in the snow. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, there are more than 2,000 road deaths every winter. Between the snow, salt and unpredictable weather, it’s important to be prepared for anything. We’ve put together 6 winter driving tips to keep you safe on the roads.
1. Inspect Your Tires
Before you consider driving in winter conditions, make sure to check your tires. This should be done in the fall, so you aren’t scrambling to replace them if needed. To inspect your tires, you should:
- Check tire pressure, and make sure it’s at the listed amount in your user manual. Proper tire pressure will save you from risking a flat.
- Check the tread with a quarter. If you can see the top of Washington’s hair, it’s time to replace your tires.
If your tires are worn out or you live in an exceptionally snowy climate, snow tires are another option. Snow tires have better tread to keep you from sliding around on the roads.
2. Keep Winter Essentials in Your Car
How many times have you been caught in the snow and realized you don’t have a window scraper? Before winter starts, stock your car with:
- Snow shovel
- Ice scraper
- Jumper cables
- Phone charger
Having the essentials on hand is going to be helpful for the everyday woes of living in a winter climate.
3. Pack a Winter Survival Kit
Along with the essentials, packing an emergency kit is never a bad idea. A winter driving survival kit should include:
- Blankets, preferably wool or down
- Candles and matches to heat and melt snow
- Non-perishable foods
- Warm clothes
- Tire chains and cables
4. Slow Down
This one may be a no- brainer, but it’s always good to keep it in mind. If you have somewhere to be, make sure you leave with ample time. The last thing you want to happen is an accident because you were rushing to get somewhere. Leave early, and take your time.
5. Don’t Drive Unless You Have To
The best way to stay safe driving in the winter is to not drive at all! Unless it’s necessary, try to stay off the roads during snow storms and icy conditions to avoid an accident. We know sometimes you’ll get caught in a storm on the road. Make sure you’re alert, prepared and driving the appropriate speed.
6. Wash Your Car Regularly
If you feel like winter is the time to get away with not washing your car, it’s not. The salt that’s all over the roads can damage your car by causing rust. Weekly washes will keep your car clean and the salt at bay.
The bottom line is that driving in the winter is typically never fun. Taking the proper precautions and being alert can save you from costly damage. Buy an ice scraper, slow down and be safe!