Winter Safety Tips
10 Tips for Winter Driving
Winter is here and the weather is getting frightening. As storms lurk, it is important for drivers to prepare to take the roads during inclement weather. The following are 10 tips for navigating road safely this winter season. Remember, during extreme weather, only go out when it is important to do so. Limit unnecessary trips and combine required errands when necessary. When you do head out, please consider the following tips.
1. When driving in the winter, proper tire maintenance is critical. Your tires must be properly inflated. When the temperatures dip, the pressure in your tires does as well. Make sure that you inflate them properly according to your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations. You also want to make sure your tires are not worn. Driving on bald tires greatly increases the risk of hydroplaning on wet, snow-covered, or icy roads.
2. When the temperatures dip, remember to keep your gas tank more than half full. Not only does this prepare you in case you are stranded, but it also protects your fuel pump and filter.
3. If possible, warm your car up before heading out. But only do this in well-ventilated areas. Never warm up a car in a garage or enclosed area.
4. Put together a cold-weather pack for your card and include an extra coat, a flashlight, a window scraper, and any important medications.
5. Drive slowly and leave plenty of room between you and the car in front of you. With an increased risk of hydroplaning or slipping, leaving that extra room between you and other cars will make your trips safer. In Illinois, it is recommended that you leave 3 seconds between you and the car in front of you. During winter, it is recommended that you double that time to 5-6 seconds.
6. Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Accelerating quickly reduces traction and can cause slips. Take your time coming from a complete stop and slowly accelerate. During icy conditions, other motorists will understand. Braking quickly will also increase the risk of slipping or hydroplaning.
7. When heading out, be sure your grab your phone and it is charged. Also grab a charger for the car in the event of an emergency.
8. When the temperature drops, so does your battery’s power. Oftentimes, cars require more power as well. Make sure you have your battery checked out before the temperature is too frigid.
9. Visibility during storms is critically important. Be sure to check your windshield wipers are in good working condition. Also consider replacing your wiper blades with winter blades, designed for snowy conditions.
10. We all know it’s the law in Illinois, but always wear your seat belts.
In the event of an emergency, stay with your car and make sure your car is visible to oncoming traffic and emergency vehicles. If someone is in danger, call 9-1-1 and follow the instructions of the emergency dispatcher.