Driving on Colorado roads in the winter can be brutal, especially if you commute a long way to work or have a holiday road trip planned. During the worst weather, it’s best to stay off the roads if possible. When you have no other choice but to brave the storm, follow these tips on how to drive in winter weather.
General Safety Tips for Driving in the Winter
Keep these pointers in mind to ensure you don’t endanger yourself or others during bad winter weather:
- Always wear your seatbelt, and make sure everyone else in your car is also buckled up.
- Leave with extra time to reach your destination because you’ll need to drive slower than usual.
- Check your tires frequently to ensure proper inflation.
- Never mix snow tires with all-season tires.
- Keep your gas tank at least half full at all times to avoid a frozen gas line. This also prevents you from becoming stranded when the weather is at its worst.
- Avoid using cruise control when driving on icy roads.
- If your car begins to skid in wet or icy conditions, look and steer in the direction you want to go.
- Never start your vehicle in a closed garage.
How to Drive on Snowy & Icy Roads
The City of Fort Collins deploys snowplows in an attempt to keep the roads clear, but it can be impossible to keep up with heavy snowfall. That’s why every Coloradoan should know how to drive in winter weather:
- Accelerate slowly. This helps your vehicle gain traction on slick roads.
- Take your time when decelerating at a red light or ahead of a turn. Remember, it takes longer to slow down on snowy, icy roads.
- Drive below the speed limit and stay eight to 10 seconds behind the car in front of you to give yourself more time to brake when necessary.
- Avoid stopping if possible, especially on a hill. It’s much easier to get your car back up to speed if the wheels are still rolling than if you come to a complete stop.
- If you see a hill coming up, increase your speed a little to help your inertia carry you to the top. Once you reach the apex, reduce your speed and proceed down the hill slowly.
Tips for Long-Distance Driving in Winter Weather
If you’re planning a trip to the in-laws’ house this holiday season, keep these pointers for long-distance drives in mind:
- Top off your fluids and schedule a vehicle tune-up before you leave on your trip.
- Heed weather reports leading up to your departure date. If particularly inclement weather and possible road closures are anticipated, delay or cancel your trip.
- Stop to refill the gas tank when it approaches half empty.
- Don’t drive if you feel fatigued. Pull over during long road trips to take a break or trade drivers.
- Keep an emergency road kit in the car, complete with a flashlight, car phone charger, medicine, food and water, warm clothing, and blankets.
- If you get stuck in the snow, stay with your vehicle. It provides shelter and makes it easier for a rescue team to find you. Run the engine long enough to warm up slightly, but turn it back off to conserve fuel. Only attempt this if you’re certain the tailpipe isn’t blocked.
Keep Your Car Running All Winter Long
Whether you have a winter road trip coming up or it’s simply time for a routine oil change, bring your vehicle to Scott’s Fort Collins Auto. We provide all the maintenance and repair services you need to keep your car running smoothly for the rest of winter.
To schedule automotive services, please call us at (970) 682-4202 or set an appointment with us online.