- December 28, 2017
- By Southern Autobody
- In blog
Staying Safe On The Roads This Winter
Driving in the winter can be dangerous. Whether you are worried about winter weather, overcrowded streets, or even trying to dodge holiday shoppers, it can be a nightmare, so keep these winter driving tips in mind.
We want you to be safe. And we understand it’s a challenge. That’s why we want to provide a set of tips on how to stay safe when you are out and about on the winter roads this season.
These winter driving tips will help you deal with winter, so you can navigate the roads safely until spring melts the snow!
Southern Auto Body’s Winter Driving Tips
- Practice winter driving. Being on the road in winter is critically different from the year’s other seasons. So, head out to a large parking lot that doesn’t have many cars in it. Try skidding on the ice. Learn to turn into the skid instead of avoiding it. Learn how you and your car react to snow and ice. This practice can be invaluable if you skid on the highway in a real driving situation.
- When on the road, adjust the way you drive. Accelerate and decelerate more carefully than in other seasons. Put greater distance between yourself and other drivers. In summer, 3 to 4 seconds of distance can be enough. In winter, you want 10 to 12 seconds of distance between yourself and other drivers. Avoiding making unnecessary stops. Don’t stop unless you have to (for a light or a stop sign). Inertia can make it hard to start driving again from a full stop.
- Be very aware of pedestrians. From Christmas to post-holiday sales to Valentine’s Day, people go crazy with shopping in the winter. This means people are walking around everywhere– and they are preoccupied. They may be talking on their phones and not paying attention, or window shopping in groups. If there are snow or ice conditions, they may not be able to see very well. All in all, holiday shopping season can be very dangerous.
- Get more comfortable driving in traffic. Roads become clogged in winter. People drive more, and conditions slow them down. This means you have to pay a lot of attention to what’s happening around you. Expect sudden stops in front of you. Expect people to make driving mistakes. Drive defensively, not offensively.
- Have a mechanic’s shop take a good look at your car. There are things you can evaluate about the condition of your car and check yourself. But there are other things you are not likely to notice if you are not a trained professional. This can include mechanical problems, issues with your undercarriage, transmission problems, and a host of hidden problems that can leave you stranded if you are out in a storm or cold weather.
- Pack a car emergency kit. This should include roadside flares, blankets, flashlight, tool kit, snacks and other long-term food, water, fire extinguisher and paper towels.
- Get an oil change. This isn’t a sexy one, but it’s important. Oil can break down more quickly in winter, so you want to make sure it’s fresh and won’t cause you any problems down the line.
- Do a complete check of your tires. This is important. You want to be able to grip the road. Check their air pressure. Make sure the treads are in good shape. And if you need to buy winter tires or even put on chains, do so. Your life may depend on it.
- Check your battery. If there is any corrosion, clean it off as corrosion can make a poor connection, leaving you stranded with a dead car. If you have a battery tester, test your battery. Make sure all connections are firm. If your battery is older or showing signs of wear, consider replacing it with a new one.
- Take a look at your coolant. You should probably flush and change it. At the very least, top it up – and always keep extra antifreeze in the back of your car.
- Replace your wiper blades. You need to start out the winter with tough new blades. This will help you during rain, ice or snow. In addition, check your wiper fluid and replace it if it is low. You always want to be able to clean your windshield against the elements.
- To help stay warm, flush your heater. A shop can do this for you, but you should be able to do it on your own if you’re handy. It will help your car heat up much more quickly, keep your windshield defrosted and keep you comfortable.
- Brakes are your friends in the wintertime. They help you stop more quickly and avoid accidents. If they’ve been squeaking lately, have them replaced. Take a look at the brake fluid and top it up if it is getting low.
- Fully charge your cell phone before you even get in the car. If you get into an accident or simply get stuck in snow, your phone can be the difference between life and death. A full charge is essential.
- If possible, always park your car in a garage. In the city, this might seem expensive, but coming back to a car that isn’t covered in ice and snow won’t only be good for you, but will also make it much less likely for your car to sustain paint or window damage.
- Always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to get there. That way, if there is a problem, someone will notice and try to contact you. Then, if they can’t reach you, they will be able to contact the authorities and send people out to find you.
We hope these winter driving tips have been helpful – and will help keep you safe. If you have any questions about them, you can contact us at any time and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.
The bottom line is to use common sense, judge the conditions accurately, and drive smart. Doing so will keep you going until the leaves start coming back to the trees and the snow melts away.
Stay safe and have a great winter!