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Winter Driving 101

Keeping your commute safe and easy during the winter months means planning ahead. Here are some tips to help you stay safe and warm this winter!

Amie-Lynn Mitchell

Content Creator

It's that time of year again. The snow is falling, the temperatures are dropping, and driving conditions are becoming more and more treacherous. But just because the weather outside is frightful doesn't mean you have to stay indoors. With some simple planning and preparation, you can still get around safely and effectively this winter. Driving through winter conditions can be a pain in the backside. The cold weather, the snow, the ice, it's all enough to make even the most experienced driver lose their cool. But there are a few things you can do to make winter driving a little bit easier. In this article, we share the best winter driving tips.

 

1. Take Your Time

First and foremost, take it a bit slower. This may seem like common sense, but you'd be surprised how many people try to drive fast(er) in winter weather conditions. Give yourself plenty of time to stop and take your time. Driving too fast is one of the most common causes of accidents year round, and even if you're an experienced driver, it's always better to err on the side of caution. Remember, it's not about getting to your destination a few minutes faster; it's about getting there safely. So, next time you find yourself behind the wheel in winter weather, take a deep breath and remember to drive with caution. Your safety (and the safety of others) depends on it. It's also a good idea to keep an eye on your distance from other cars. You never know when someone is going to slip and slide into your lane. Stay aware!

2. Prepare Your Ride

Next, make sure your car is prepared for winter weather. Winter can be a tough season for your vehicle. The cold weather can take a toll on your car, and the winter driving conditions can be dangerous. That's why it's important to prepare your vehicle for the winter months. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Check your tires. Make sure they have enough tread and that the pressure is at the recommended level. Winter driving can be tough on tires, so it's important to make sure they're up for the task. 
  • Winterize your vehicle. This means adding antifreeze to the radiator, changing the oil, and checking the battery. 
  • Check your windshield wipers and replace them if they're worn or damaged.

3. Watch The Weather

Check the weather forecast and road conditions before you head out on the road, take a look at the forecast and plan your route accordingly. If possible, avoid driving in areas expected to receive heavy snowfall or ice accumulation. And, if you do find yourself driving in bad weather conditions, take it slow and be extra cautious. Better safe than sorry!

4. Keep An Emergency Kit

Pack an emergency kit. This should include things like a first-aid kit, food and water, a flashlight, flares, blankets and a shovel. You never know when you might need these things, so it's always better to be prepared.  Winter driving can be treacherous, but being prepared can help you avoid an accident. So before you head out on your next winter adventure, make sure you have an emergency kit in your car. It could just save your life.

5. Use Caution

Be extra careful while driving on bridges and overpasses. These roadways tend to freeze before the rest of the road, so use caution when driving over them.

6. Look Out For Black Ice

Watch out for black ice. Black ice is a thin layer of ice that can be difficult to spot. It usually forms in shady areas or on bridges and overpasses. If you hit black ice while driving, there are a few things you should do. First, stay calm. Although tempting to panic, it's important to stay focused and maintain control of your vehicle. Second, shift into neutral, and gently ease off the accelerator; avoid sudden braking or sharply turning the wheel. Sudden movements can cause your car to spin out of control. Look and steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go, wait for the wheels to grip the road again and only then: return to a driving gear. Finally, resume driving at a safe speed.

7. Gas Tank Half Full

Lastly, keep your gas tank full. Running out of gas is never fun, but it's especially not fun when you're stranded in the cold with no way to heat up your car. A full tank will help to keep your engine warm and prevent fuel lines from freezing. In addition, it will give you a cushion in case you get stuck in traffic or have to take a detour. Keeping your gas tank at least half full will help ensure that you don't find yourself in this situation. 

Driving in the winter can be tough, but it doesn't have to be stressful if you prepare and take it easy. Make sure your car is ready for winter weather conditions, pay attention to the forecast, and take your time on the road. With a little preparation and common sense, winter driving can be safe and even enjoyable. So do not let the cold weather keep you off the road—just follow these simple tips and enjoy the ride!