There is no more treacherous driving season than winter. Ice and snow can make driving difficult and dangerous. Toss in all the other drivers around you trying to navigate the frozen landscape as well, and things can go south quickly.
However, we all have places to go and things to do. A little snow and ice can’t derail our daily lives. Sometimes, snowy, icy, winter travel is unavoidable.
Never fear. With a little bit of safety consciousness and precautions, you can safely navigate the roads throughout winter. It’ll be spring before you know it!
Always, always check your tires
The single most important thing to constantly check and maintain on your car during winter are your tires. Bald tires have very little traction and are prone to slipping and sliding on the road at the slightest sign of slickness.
Before the snow starts falling, make sure your tires have been appropriately checked, inflated to correct tire pressure specifics and have the appropriate amount of tread and depth. Tires should have at least 2/32” of depth to be safe.
If your tires are balding and getting low on tread, it is important that you have them changed before conditions outside deteriorate.
Give yourself plenty of time
Whether you are traveling out of town to see relatives for the holidays or just running out to the grocery store for dinner ingredients, make sure to give yourself plenty of time for travel.
When you are in a rush, you are more prone to making mistakes or being aggressive on the road. During the winter, aggressive or spastic driving habits can land you skidded off the road or in a fender bender. Then you’ll definitely be late for dinner with the family. So, just be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.
Besides, with road conditions the way they are, you and your fellow travelers are likely to be driving under the speed limit, as they should.
Always carry essential tools and equipment
Snowy winter travel can leave you in some pretty nasty situations. Hopefully, you never find yourself in such a situation, but to handle the worst you have to prepare for the worst.
There are a couple items that every driver needs to have in their vehicle and handy during the winter to help get them out of tight situations like sliding off the road, getting snowed in, a dead battery, running out of gas or blowing a tire.
Kitty litter, sand or salt – Vehicles can quickly get stuck with excessive ice or snow build up. You can step on the gas and spin your tires all you want, but it they can’t find any grip you’ll be going nowhere fast. These items, when applied around the tires, can help provide something for them to grab on to.
Ice scrapper – This one should already be in your car. But, if you don’t have one, this one is a must-have. Whether you are leaving work in the morning or leaving work in the evening, having a handy little scraper to clear your windows or break up icy build-up around tires is a great tool.
Cell phone charger – Nothing is worse than being stranded with a dead cell phone. Always keep a charger handy in your car to avoid the frustration of not being able to call friends, family, your insurance company or a tow truck.
Flashlight – Accidents and incidents rarely occur at convenient times. Being stuck on the side of a road or in a ditch at night is not a fun time. It’s even worse when you can’t see anything! Always keep a flashlight handy in your car for such occasions. It’s always handy for flagging down passing cars as well. Just make sure the batteries aren’t dead!