Winter is here – and it will happen, whether we like it or not. What’s most important is that we are well-prepared for it. Some parts of North America have unforgiving weather and many regions have already started to experience heavy snowfall. It is pertinent that you do everything within your power to keep the roads as safe as possible throughout the cold winter months. Check out these safe winter driving tips:
Tip #1: Get Winter Tires and Learn How to Recover from Skidding
Why get winter tires? These tires provide a higher level of traction, braking power, and handling. They are able to shorten your braking distance by up to 25%! You should keep in mind that winter tires are not the same as all-season tires. The latter can lose their grip if the temperature drops below 7 degrees Celsius.
When you are on the road during winter, the risk of skidding is higher. Before you learn how to respond to skidding, you should check whether your vehicle is a four-wheel, rear wheel, or front wheel drive. If your vehicle comes with an anti-lock braking system (e.g. ABS brakes), it is recommended that you learn how to use it properly as well.
Tip #2: Don’t Drive with Cruise Control and Keep a Safe Distance Behind Large Vehicles
If you reply on cruise control in bad weather, you are asking for trouble. You may lose control of your vehicle. If there is an ice storm, serious blizzard, or other factors that make driving conditions very poor, it is best to avoid driving completely. If you get caught behind a large vehicle, be sure to keep a safe distance. Those drivers do not always have the greatest visibility and may even create snow clouds that reduce your overall visibility. If you manage a fleet and you are worried about the safety of your drivers, you can monitor their driving behavior in real-time with a GPS tracking solution.
Tip #3: Plan Your Routes and Keep Track of Road and Weather Conditions
Planning the safest and most efficient routes ahead of time is always a good move to make. In addition, you may want to check the forecast to make sure you are aware of what you can expect before you hit the road. Next, always give yourself extra travel time so that you can drive slowly and steadily, according to the conditions of the road.
Tip #4: Do Simple Winter Vehicle Maintenance
Before you start your vehicle, it is sound practice to clean the roof, lights, windows, and mirrors. Foggy windows reduce visibility and you should wait for them to clear up completely before you hit the road. Next, you should keep your gas tank full as it helps to reduce moisture in the fuel system. That moisture can add some extra weight to your vehicle, slowing it down when on icy terrain.
Tip #5: Stay Comfortable and Prepare a Survival Kit
While it is important to layer up in the winter to keep warm, you may want to avoid putting on too many layers. It can restrict your movement and make it difficult for you to check your blind spots. Finally, don’t forget to put together your own winter survival kit. You may include non-perishable energy foods, water bottles, candles, safety vest, torch, first aid kit, windshield wiper fluid, snow brush, gloves, small shovel, and booster cables.