Winter Weather Driving Tips

Accident Prevention, Safety, Winter Driving

Well Ladies and Gentlemen we are one day away from Thanksgiving and the weather looks like it might give us our first driving challenge of the late fall. Forecasters are having a hard time pinpointing exactly what we are in for, but it does appear at a minimum that it could be a sloppy and slippery mess. We had a great summer and early fall weather-wise but now it is time to focus on getting the rust and dust off our winter weather driving skills. I am asking that you take the time to read the points below and give them some thought as you venture out on your first winter driving adventure, be it today or later in the season.

  • We all have a route planned before we leave but have you considered an alternate route? Give it some thought should weather or traffic dictate change.
  • Always give a "Flight Plan" to those you are leaving behind as well as traveling to; this includes your vehicle's description and license plate. Doing this will aid law enforcement in searching for you should the need arise.
  • Carry extra cash or credit cards with you should you need to interrupt your trip and seek a hotel for an overnight stay.
  • Make sure your car is in good working order. Brakes, tires, headlights, blinkers, windshield wipers, and windshield wash should all be inspected before departing.
  • Use your headlights no matter what the time of day.
  • If you can, have at least another person along while traveling. Maybe you can share driving to cut down on fatigue.
  • If fatigue sets in, or the weather becomes too difficult for you to continue traveling in, find a safe place to park and wait it out or get a hotel room.
  • Watch the mile marker and exit numbers as you travel, it will help you pinoint a location should you have to contact help for yourself or other motorists.
  • The use of cruise control is discouraged on icy or otherwise slippery roads.
  • Remember to drive defensively; leaving larger gaps between you and the vehicles in front as well as reducing your speed.
  • Remember also that overpasses will ice up sooner than the roadway.
  • Four wheel drive, all wheel drive and front wheel drive all have advantages in bad weather, but none of them are your "Pass" to drive less carefully.
  • If you should become stranded, stay with the vehicle and run the vehicle intermittently. Crack a window to prevent carbon monoxide buildup.
  • Carry a winter travel kit and consider the following items for it:
    • Cell Phone
    • Extra gloves, hats and socks
    • Boots
    • Blanket(s)
    • Snack foods
    • Bottled Water
    • Flashlight
    • Candle
    • Matches / lighter
    • Good book / magazines
    • Cat litter for traction
    • A portable radio, preferably with a weather band
    • Lock de-icer
    • Jumper Cables or portable jump back
    • Road flares

I hope this helps and has refreshed your memory as sooner or later you are going to have to drive in less than desirable weather. Also, please look to the tags at the right of this blog and click on "Accidents" for some tips on what to do should you become involved in a motor vehicle accident.

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