Many people will be driving to and from their hometowns during the winter. Christmas is one apparent reason for that. As exciting as that can be, winter driving conditions can be dangerous. You will have to deal with unpredictable weather, limited daylight, and vehicle problems.
Since it is essential to stay safe while making a long journey in difficult weather conditions, here are some driving tips that’ll help ensure just that.
- Prepare for your journey beforehand:
If you are planning on taking a trip during winter, make sure to get your car checked. Winters aren’t lenient to vehicles, which is why there could be several issues that can go unchecked.
If you are taking a route that experiences heavy snowfall, ensure you have all the essential tools with you, just in case. Chains, ropes, jumper cables, and shovels should be kept in the car before leaving.
Along with that, you need to check the weather forecast before leaving. Is there any snow blizzard on the horizon? Are they expecting any heavy rain that could make it difficult to drive?
Checking the weather will save you from unexpected difficulties during your journey. You should also check online for tips on driving safely in winter weather. An online resource like https://www.progressive.com/lifelanes/on-the-road/winter-driving-tips/ can help give you valuable advice on winter driving.
- Focus on the road:
Long journeys can be very tiring. It is common for people to become bored or tired during these car drives. It also means that the drivers in these situations are very susceptible to getting distracted.
Although it may seem that fiddling with your stereo or replying to a text message is not harmful to anyone, however 5 seconds of carelessness can cause you to regret it for a lifetime. According to NHTSA, distracted driving took more than 3000 people’s lives in 2020 alone.
Therefore, you should keep your eyes on the road for the entire ride. If you need to answer an important call or text message, park your car on the side of the road before doing so. To avoid feeling tired, you should get a good night’s sleep before leaving. Do not go on a long drive when you feel tired or sleepy.
- Drive Slowly and Steadily:
During the winter season, roads can be very slippery, which increases the chances of accidents because you have less control over your car. One way to tackle this problem is by reducing the speed of your vehicle while driving it.
Holidays are a common time for traffic on the roads. Slow driving will prevent you from losing control over your car, especially while applying brakes or crossing lanes. Another problem that many people face is unruly drivers.
Maintaining distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front is a good strategy. Let the impatient driver pass you or go through an intersection before you so you can control the situation. This will also help you if you need to apply sudden brakes.
Winter roads are not for aggressive driving, so you must maintain a slow and steady speed to minimize your risk of accidents.
- Have an emergency backup:
Stay away from driving during bad weather conditions, but as it is hard to predict the weather in winter, you can take some measures to combat any emergency. Firstly, make sure to have a full tank of gas before traveling. You do not want to complete half of your journey and then realize that you don’t even have gas to reach the next gas station. Secondly, you must have an emergency first-aid kit in your car. Some things to pack before starting your journey are a blanket, some food, water bottles, a flashlight, and an ice scraper.
In addition, you should have a full battery in your phone. Keep a portable charger with you so you can charge your phone. Most emergencies can’t be prevented, but you can keep yourself safe if you take the necessary precautions.
- Keep a check on your car’s ventilation systems:
Keeping your car locked and running might not be the smartest idea if your heater is turned up. The difference between the outside and inside temperatures increases, resulting in windshield condensation.
Another complication is that cars idling for extended periods can result in suffocation resulting from carbon monoxide poisoning. Therefore, it is essential not to leave your vehicle running and open the windows slightly to help to maintain the temperature of your car.
Some cars also feature active ventilation systems that keep excess heat out of the cabin. Turn that feature on if you are stuck in a traffic jam, which is expected during the holidays. It will reduce the chances of carbon monoxide in the car, keeping you awake and alert.
- No drinking and driving:
The FWHA claims more than 1.2 million vehicle crashes occur due to weather-related conditions every year. Since winter driving is tricky, combining it with drinking can be deadly.
Drunk driving causes many accidents even in normal road conditions, so there is no doubt that driving under alcohol is worse. During the holidays, many people drink to celebrate with their family and friends, which is understandable.
However, it is best to stay off alcohol if you are planning to drive during the night. You do not want to play around with your safety or the safety of your loved ones.
If you cannot avoid alcohol, get someone sober to drive then. For a safe journey, you will need someone who can stay sharp throughout the ride. Regardless of the weather and occasion, do not drive drunk. It is a punishable offense in many states.
Winters can be challenging for driving because of treacherous roads, fog, and heavy snow. But this is also when almost everyone wants to visit their family or spend time with friends. Taking the necessary measures and preparing for your travel beforehand can save you a lot of trouble.
At the same time, you must plan your journey a week before heading out. Keep an eye on the weather and avoid routes known for getting snowfall. In addition, you should keep all the necessary tools with you in an emergency.