Winter Driving Safety Tips

Driving in unsafe conditions due to inclement weather can be stressful and scary. A quick review of these tips for safe driving will prepare you to confidently face some of the most common conditions that can otherwise give cause for alarm to motorists.

Preventative Safety Tips for Any Driving Conditions 

  • Always carry a first-aid and medical kit
  • Keep jumper cables and flashlights in your vehicle
  • Stay up-to-date on your regular maintenance to ensure tires have good tread and are properly inflated
  • Regularly check that lights and turning signals operate properly
  • Ensure that your fuel tank stays above the halfway mark is a good general rule of thumb because you will be less likely to run out of gas if caught in sudden, unsafe conditions. There’s an added benefit in the winter as it facilitates easier starts in cold weather due to reduced condensation.

General Safety Tips for Driving in Unsafe Conditions 

  • Slow down! Whether it is rain, snow, ice or even heavy winds causing tricky conditions, it will take longer to stop and respond to what is going on around you. Slow down and allow more space between you and other motorists.
  • Always turn your headlights on when driving in any type of precipitation, regardless of the time of day. It may increase your own visibility and more importantly it will definitely help other drivers see you.
  • Minimize, if not avoid, using your brakes and instead decrease speed by taking your foot off the accelerator (Another reason to slow down!).
  • Leave your cruise control off and keep both hands on the steering wheel with gentle use of all the main controls – steering, clutch, brake and accelerator.
  • Stay home if at all possible. If travel can be avoided in snow, ice, rain, heavy thunderstorm or high winds, stay home. You will ensure your own safety while also reducing the number of vehicles battling the elements and thus reducing the chance accidents might occur.

Tips for Driving Safely In Rainy Conditions

  • Drive in the tracks of cars in front of you for better traction and stay in middle lane as water tends to pool in outside lanes.
  • Don’t attempt to cross moving water or large puddles. If you do end up hydroplaning don’t press the brakes and attempt to turn, rather let your foot off the gas slowly and attempt to steer straight until the tires regain traction.
  • Check your wipers (and replace roughly once a year) to ensure they adequately remove water from the windshield.
  • If your wheels start skidding, turn the steering wheel in the direction of the skid and ease up on the gas or gently pump the brakes.
  • If rain becomes so heavy that you cannot see other vehicles or the edges of the road pull over and wait it out. Be sure to pull off the road as far as you safely can and keep headlights as well as hazard lights on so other motorists can easily see you.

Tips for Driving Safely in Snow or Ice 

  • Don’t idle a cold engine for a longer period to warm it up, the best way to warm the engine is by driving. If you’re driving a manual transmission, starting in second gear can also help reduce tire spinning.
  • Snow (or rain) can quickly cause windows to mist up inside the car. Use the defrosters with the A/C switched on to get the air moving which will cut down on condensation and improve visibility.
  • Use generous amounts of wiper fluid to keep the windshield clean and clear, and if driving in snow often enough switch to a low temperature fluid which will not freeze.
  • If you know you will be driving in snowy weather ahead of time, consider packing tire chains, a long tow rope, reflective triangles, a mobile charging kit and even a kit containing warm clothing plus spare food and water.
  • If your climate yields frequent snowfalls, consider investing in a good set of snow or winter tires as they will provide more traction than all-purpose tires, which may suffice only for the occasional or light snow.

This guest post was written by Freedom Rims, a Responsible Military Lender since 1983. Freedom Rims offers rims financing for a variety of performance rims and tires, including chrome rims. We offer fast and convenient credit on a large inventory of tires and wheels with our military financing options.

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Posted on December 7, 2012, in automotive, local interest, new Lexus, new Scion, new Toyota, used cars, vehicle maintenance and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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