Snow Safety Tips
As rain, snow, and fog cannot be avoided, it is important that you and your family are prepared ahead of time before you hit the road. Here are some helpful tips on what you can do to best prepare yourself and your vehicle for winter driving conditions:
- Before you hit the road tune into radio and television weather reports to know where traffic congestion or crashes might be located.
- Let someone know your destination, your route, your cell phone number, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
- Check to ensure the battery, ignition system, and lights are in good working order.
- Check brakes and tires for wear that might make stopping and starting difficult.
- Make sure your tires are properly inflated and in good condition. The amount of traction determines how well the vehicle accelerates, turns, and stops.
- Check the level of antifreeze in your vehicle’s cooling system. The owner’s manual will help determine the best type of coolant for your vehicle.
- Some roads, especially in mountain areas, may require chains or snow tires in harsh conditions. Check the requirements in your area with local law enforcement and carry chains in your car if mandated to do so.
- Frozen door locks can be defrosted by carefully heating the end of a key with a match or lighter. A squirt of de-icer spray is another quick method.
- Ensure wipers are checked for clearer vision. Washer fluids need to be filled with anti-freeze washer solvent. Wipe off wiper blades before you drive to avoid damage from ice.
- Road salt, slush and grime are especially hard on a car’s finish. To help prevent rust and paint damage, keep cars washed and waxed. A full or self-service car wash makes the job easier when temperatures are low.
- Keep your gas tank full for emergency use and to avoid the fuel line from freezing.
Driving through rain, snow, or fog can limit your visibility while driving, that’s why it’s important to stay focused, drive with caution, and remain calm. The following are some helpful tips to keep in mind while you’re on the road:
- Remove all snow from your vehicle. Snow left on any surface increases the possibility that visibility will be affected while driving.
- Wear your seat belt and make sure everyone in the vehicle does as well.
- Give yourself a bigger margin of safety around your vehicle. Leave a bigger gap in front, on the side, and behind your vehicle as well.
- Don’t use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface.
- Use extra caution on bridges, overpasses, shaded spots, and intersections when approaching other vehicles.
- Brake slowly and gently. Slamming on the brakes on ice-covered roads dramatically increases your risk of losing control of your vehicle.
- If you start to skid, take your foot off the brake, ease off the gas pedal, and steer in the direction you want to go. This helps keep you from over-correction, a common cause of crashes in snow and ice conditions.