Even experienced New England drivers know driving can be more challenging in the winter months. While snowfall and ice certainly create the most difficult situations, there are other factors at play like earlier nightfall, fog, and salt and dirt kick-up on windows that can reduce visibility and increase the likelihood of traffic accidents. We’ve put together a helpful list of 7 safe winter driver tips that all drivers should remember.
Our first safe winter driving tip is to take basic safety precautions like having your brakes, tires, battery life and fluid levels inspected. A mechanic will let you know if you need any work done to make sure your vehicle is functioning properly.
It sounds obvious, but life can get in the way and rushing out the door is all too common. Take the time to check weather forecasts before heading out on the roads. You’ll be glad you did.
Many drivers use their cell phones as navigation devices and as an audio streaming source for music, audiobooks and podcasts. Another great benefit we enjoy in the age of smartphones is that we can quickly seek assistance if we have car trouble – including getting stuck in the snow. But that cell phone isn’t much use to you if the battery is dead! Try to remember to keep your phone charged before driving, especially in the winter. Keep a spare charging cable in your vehicle to use while you’re driving.
In the winter months, it’s important to keep your car fueled up. Don’t run the risk of getting stuck, even in ordinary traffic, with low fuel. Cold weather can quickly turn an otherwise frustrating situation into a potentially dangerous one.
- Make sure your windshields, windows and mirrors are clean to ensure visibility.
Always brush snow off your car and scrape ice off before driving. Additionally, while modern ice-melt and removal treatments are a marvel that keep the roads running during and after winter storms, this extra salt, sand and other ice melting compounds tend to stick to vehicles and get them really, really dirty. This salt and sand can build up in important places that help with safe driving – like side mirrors and back windshields. A $15 car wash – although it won’t keep your car as clean as long as other times of year allow – can make a huge difference in safe driving.
- Put Together a Winter Emergency Kit
Packing a winter emergency kit is a precautionary measure that can go a long way. First, the basics: you’ll want to include a first aid kit, blanket, flashlight, hand warmers, bottled water, snack bars, a multi-tool, and jumper cables. But you can also pack things like duct tape, a jack and lug wrench to change a tire, foam sealant for small tire leaks, map book, and more, just in case.
Did you know we offer roadside assistance coverage?
- Reduce speed to allow plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front of you.
This tip is vital. Snow, ice and even rain can make it more difficult for vehicles to brake, and the time it takes to brake can be the difference between an accident and a safe commute. Be patient and leave space!
Winter makes driving more challenging, but remembering these 7 tips will go a long way. Eventually Spring will come, but for now, let’s stay safe out there!