Although the weather can be unpredictable here in New Hampshire, we expect the winter season to be accompanied by freezing rain, sleet, snow, and ice, and just a slight amount of winter precipitation can result in dangerous driving conditions. From battling freezing rain and snow to sleet and hail, use the following winter driving safety tips to ensure that you remain safe on the road this winter:
- Preplan your route and be aware of changing weather conditions.
- Proper maintenance is just as important as taking extra precautions while driving. Itís crucial to ensure that your car is tuned up and prepared for winter weather before the next storm hits. Donít forget to check tire pressure, which drops by about one pound for every 10 degrees of temperature. Low tire pressure can make the operation of your vehicle difficult and dangerous.
- Ask your mechanic to check heating and cooling systems. A 50-50 mix of anti-freeze and water has a lower freezing point, rendering it the best cold weather mix.
- Considering that your car can easily get stuck while driving in the snow and ice, itís best to keep your gas tank close to full at all times.
- Check your windshield wipers and top off your windshield washer fluid.
- Keep your vehicle completely clear of ice and snow, including your headlights. Not only is it safer for you and other drivers, but youíll also get better gas mileage.
- Remember that salt build-up on your headlights can also substantially reduce your night-time visibility, so be sure to clean your headlights regularly.
- Slow down! Allow ample travel time to avoid speeding to arrive at your destination. Even if you remain in control of your car, other drivers surrounding you may not. Maintain safe following distances as braking may be more difficult.
- Avoid distractions. Itís more important than ever to refrain from texting or talking on the phone while driving in the snow and ice.
Losing control of a vehicle can be a terrifying experience, and one that is unfortunately common in the winter when temperatures drop and the roads get slick. To prevent an unnecessary skid, slip or accident while driving in the snow and ice, keep the following winter driving safety tips and techniques in mind:
- Slow down ahead of turns and curves.
- Plan ahead for lane changes.
- Look out for ice patches, piles of wet leaves and shady areas, which are likely skidding hazards.
- Anticipate stops near intersections.
- Avoid over accelerating your vehicle in deep snow.
- If you feel your vehicle beginning to skid, do not panic. Steer in the direction that the vehicle is sliding until you can feel your car regain traction. Then, slowly straighten your wheels and keep rolling.
With slippery winter precipitation comes a renewed need to keep winter driving safety tips in mind. To best protect yourself and others while driving in the snow and ice, itís important to be cautious and always put safety first, avoiding distractions at all costs.