No matter how much experience you have, winter conditions can make driving tricky for everyone. According to the Federal Highway Administration, over 116,800 people are inured in car accidents on snowy or icy roads annually. Fortunately, there are things you can do to minimize your risk of getting into a fender bender.
Don’t drive unless necessary
When the weather is bad the best thing you can do is stay home. Don’t put your life in danger by doing unnecessary driving. Often schools and certain businesses will close in severe weather so there’s no need to be on the icy roads.
Make sure your tires are properly inflated
Tire pressure tends to fluctuate depending on the temperature. Keeping your tires properly inflated will help you get better gas mileage and prevent you from being stranded along the side of the road. The best time to check your tire pressure is before you head out in the morning.
Clean all the snow and ice off your car
Driving with snow or ice on your car is dangerous and, in some places, it’s illegal. Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania are just a few states that have snow removal laws. If snow or ice flies off your vehicle and causes injury or property damage, you can be fined up to $1,000.
Check your exhaust pipes
Many people like to sit in their car with the engine running to let it warm up. Always make sure there isn’t any snow, ice or debris blocking your exhaust pipes. Otherwise, carbon monoxide can leak into your car and kill you. For the same reason, you want to avoid running your car inside of enclosed spaces.
Always wear your seat belt
Whether you’re the driver or passenger, you need to buckle up every time you get into a vehicle. Wearing a seat belt can keep you safe and secure in an accident. If worn properly, you can reduce your risk of serious injury by 45 percent and moderate to critical injury by 50 percent.
Winter is not the time to feed your need for speed. Take your time and drive slowly. Roads covered in black ice can make driving very dangerous. Due to its thin and transparent nature, you won’t even see it coming. One minute you’ll be driving fine and the next thing you know, your vehicle’s sliding. If that happens, don’t panic and slam on your brakes. Just take your foot off the gas and hold your steering wheel steady. If you feel the car sliding to the right or left, turn your steering wheel in the same direction until you stop skidding.
Leave extra space between you and other cars
It takes longer to stop when you’re driving in rainy or snowy conditions. Therefore, you need to leave extra room between you and other cars. It’s a good idea to double or triple your following distance. This will prevent you from crashing into the back of someone’s vehicle if they stop suddenly.
Keep your eyes on the road
Some people aren’t completely focused on the road while driving. You see them putting on makeup, eating, texting or messing with the radio. Please don’t be like them. Every day, approximately 9 people are killed and over 1,000 are injured in accidents involving a distracted driver. Nasty weather calls for you to pay extra attention to what’s going on around you.