You live in a region where snow is inevitable, and you don’t have the luxury of staying indoors. A visit to friends, family or some errand forces you to take your car out and cruise along. Read on for some Safe Driving Tips to drive safely in winter we are sure you’ll appreciate.
- Make sure your gas tank is topped up, till it reaches half, at the very least. This will lower any build-up of condensation that often leads to freezing of the gas pipe.
- Make sure that your battery is in a good condition, and is charged fully. The battery is bound to be tested in extreme cold weather conditions, and it needs to in optimal shape if your engine needs to start and function well.
- Make sure you don’t get the car warmed up in enclosed areas, like say, a garage.
- Always wear your seat belts, winter or no winter, snow or no snow!
- Before you decide to take your car out, ensure that the exhaust is not clogged with ice, mud or snow.
The other checks include inspecting the brakes to ensure they are in top gear. It is very important for the brakes to be in good shape because the wheels will not lock on slippery surfaces. Another aspect you need to check is the condition of the tires. The tires need to be inflated, because slightly less inflated ones will further get deflated with drop in temperatures outside.
Driving in snowy conditions
It requires some smart thinking to negotiate snowy conditions. For starters, you would need to drive slowly because if the streets are covered in snow, everything from stopping, accelerating or turning, is bound to slow down. If you drive slowly, you have the time for maneuvering. You would need to apply the gas in a slow manner to accelerate, because you will then avoid skidding. Never use the option of cruise control in winter because even so-called clear streets could have a spot that is slippery. Even slight braking could make you lose control.
You would also need to look much ahead in traffic than in normal, dry conditions. Increase your following distance to about eight-ten seconds from three to four, ensuring a wider safety margin if you need to stop. If you are driving uphill, avoid powering up because extra power on snow-topped roads could get your wheels in a spin. Get some inertia before you get to the hill so that it carries you up. Never stop while going uphill on a road covered with snow.
Stranded in the snow? Here’s what you can do
Tie a bright cloth to your antenna or place one atop a rolled-up window if you are in distress. Keep the light (dome) switched on at night so rescuers will be able to spot you easily. One of the most obvious steps to take if you are stranded during your winter drive and you have access to a phone is to call 911. Meanwhile, stay in your car, and don’t walk in a snow storm as you can lose your way easily. Don’t over-exert useful and turn sweaty, as wet clothes won’t insulate you from the weather. Also ensure there is fresh air inside the car; we understand it is cold, but it is better to be cold than to keep yourself warm and just slip into a deep sleep or turn unconscious. Your rescue will be easier if you are alert to the situation. Ensure you have blood circulation going. Every ten minutes or so, run the car’s engine for some heat.