Strong winds, ice, and low temperatures can create hazardous driving conditions. Drivers should be cautious when severe weather hits. If you do not have to be out, don’t risk it. Driving on ice can be very dangerous and you should avoid getting out on the road unless you absolutely have to. If you have to drive during severe winter weather, follow these tips to ensure a safe trip.
Be prepared. Before the weather hits, make sure your vehicle is winterized. Check tire pressure as it tends to go down in the winter. If tires are under inflated they can cause a vehicle to react more slowly. Battery power goes down as well when the temperature lowers. Make sure your battery has sufficient voltage. Check your lights. You want to be seen coming down the road as well as see what is in front of you. Other things to check are the heater and ignition system. Make sure the gas tank is sufficiently full and that the oil has been changed. Restock your first aid and emergency supplies in case you get stranded.
Do not start driving until the windshield and other windows are clear. Even if you are only going a short distance, you need to be able to see around you in hazardous conditions. If you want to warm up your car before getting in, make sure it is in an open area. Do not leave the garage door shut for example.
When hitting the road start slow to get a feel of road conditions. Test the steering control and braking ability. Rain, snow, and ice have huge effects on the braking distance of a vehicle. Being able to complete a smooth and safe stop is severely limited due to reduced tire traction. Take gentle turns and drive at a low speed. Avoid sudden movements and brake gently when stopping. Keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you. Make sure your wiper blades are functioning. There are even special blades available that assist in removing snow.
If you happen to be caught in winter weather or stalled, stay with your but do not overexert yourself. Contact 911 or emergency roadside assistance as soon as you can. Running your car for long periods of time with the windows rolled up can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. To say warm, make sure the exhaust pipe is cleared of any debris or snow and run your vehicle sporadically.