Winter is a time for holidays, get-togethers and vacations. You don’t want your winter to also include a car accident, which is why being a prepared driver is so essential. Statistics show that over 70% of all roads in the US are located in snowy regions and 17% of all crashes happen due to winter conditions. Several things must come together to ensure road safety this winter. Here, we have tips to help you prepare your car for the journey and navigate the roads safely when the weather is bad.
Studies show that more accidents happen in the summer months than in the winter months. However, this is also due to less traffic traveling in winter conditions. However, on days where snow, fog, ice and storms happen during the winter, car accidents and sliding off the road are happening all over the place. It’s not uncommon to see hundreds of car-related incidents in your state when a cold front or winter storm comes through. This is due to ice on the road, poor visibility, wet conditions and cars that are not prepared to drive in the snow.
Here are some great ways to winterize your car so you stay safe on the road:
Always prepare for an emergency! Emergency car kits can save your life if you’re stuck overnight in the snow, especially on the outskirts of town. Keep a car kit full of food for every member of the family for 1-3 days, plus a change of clothes, toiletries, chargers and everyday essentials you use. Add emergency reflectors to your pack and flares so that you can be seen by passersby. Include in your emergency kit a first-aid kit and tool kit, as both may come in handy as well.
Often, many people will be out in freezing weather for a minimal time. However, anything can happen, which is why you want to prepare to hit the road by wearing winter clothing. Even if you must where heels and a business suit to work, invest in an extra-long or extra warm winter coat. Use snow boots to get to your vehicle and change
A great tip for winter drivers—especially those that commute each day—is to map out your drive ahead of time if there is winter construction or roads that are closed. This can easily happen after a snowstorm. Wake up early enough to both warm up your car and shovel your car out if that were to happen. A lack of planning is what leads to being late to work/school and hurried drivers that get in wrecks. Check the news, check the weather and be up and going earlier in the winter to avoid driving issues other drivers face.
There’s no way around it: you have to drive slower in snowy conditions. Don’t feel like you have to reach the speed limit or exceed it during the winter. Simply move to the farthest right lane and go at the pace you feel comfortable with during your commute.
Studies show that it can take up to 10X longer to stop a car when snow and ice are on the ground, so factor that in when you’re driving. One method many drivers use when driving is a pump-brake-pump method. When approaching a stop sign, a car in front of you or a stoplight, you start to brake farther back than you normally would in summer weather. You press down lightly on the brake, release, then repeat as many times as necessary until you can make it to a complete stop. This will help prevent you from sliding through intersections on ice or hitting another car or object in front of you.
Make sure you are visible to other cars on the road and that they are visible to you. Scrape all your windows off before you start your commute. It only takes a minute or two, but could help save your life or another’s. It is also a misdemeanor in many counties throughout the U.S. to not have your car windows cleared off because it’s that important. Other drivers may not see you, but you will be able to see them.
Remove any objects that block your back and side windows and make sure your headlights and taillights work properly so your car is visible in the dark. There are many ways to drive safely on winter roads. Start with these and incorporate more safety methods as you get better at driving on winter roads.
Now is the time to winterize your car and make it safe for driving through the winter. If you haven’t already, invest in winter tires for your vehicle. Two winter tires will work great for some cars, while others will need four. Ask us about headlight/taillight repair, essential winter gear for your car and what we suggest for your specific make and model. Simply call Scott’s Fort Collins Auto today at (970) 682-4202!