As the winter months come to a close, it’s important that we look back upon the winter and better our driving skills for the next set of cold months. Who knows, if you’re in a state like Oklahoma, you may be using these driving tips sooner than you think. What’s most important is that you remain safe during the winter months.
Don’t Forget Standard Driving Suggestions
Before we go into the specifics, let’s review the tips you should observe no matter the weather. These tips can prevent you from making mistakes that can be even more detrimental in the winter months.
- Avoid driving while fatigued. Getting the proper amount of sleep before getting behind the wheel reduces driving risks. Stay alert to avoid other vehicles, pedestrians, and other objects.
- Make certain your tires are properly inflated. This is especially important in the winter months because the colder temperature causes your tire pressure to decrease. Low air pressure leaves your tires more likely to have a blowout.
- Buckle your seat belt every time you get into your vehicle. This is extra important on slippery roads such as right after it starts raining or when the roads are slick.
Driving with Snow/Ice on the Ground
- Plan your trips. Always be watching weather conditions, make sure you have plenty of gas, planning your route, and giving yourself plenty of time to get to your safely.
- Drive slowly. Stopping and turning take longer to safely accomplish in bad weather conditions. You should be taking everything at a slower pace on ice-covered roads. Giving yourself greater reaction time will allow you the greatest maneuverability of your vehicle.
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Giving your tires more time to gain the traction they need to prevent skids and slips that can hurt your vehicle or cause an accident. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry, and take the proper amount of time to slow down when coming to an intersection. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads. It is safer to take twice the amount of time so slow down than in standard driving conditions.
- Keep moving if you can. Cars and other vehicles are heavy, meaning they have a lot of inertia, so it’s much easier to keep the car moving than to start from a stopped position.
- Keep your foot on the brake. Other vehicles are having to brave the same type of elements that you are. Being ready to stop as quickly as you can decreases the likelihood of an accident.
- If you get stuck, stay in your vehicle. You are easiest to find there and it provides shelter from the elements. Don’t overexert yourself trying to dig yourself out. You can run the car heater to stay warm for 10 minutes every hour, but make sure your exhaust pipe is clear of snow to prevent carbon monoxide from spilling into the vehicle. Open your window slightly to help prevent any buildup.
- Stay home if you don’t need to go out. When the weather gets bad, sometimes it’s just better to stay home and avoid the risk of getting into an accident. While you may have mastered driving in the snow, not everyone has, so it is always safer to remain in your home and wait for better weather conditions if you don’t need to leave.