Winter brings some of the most challenging road conditions of the year. All drivers, novice as well as those that have been driving for a long time, must know how to compensate for the less than ideal conditions during this time of year and take appropriate actions.
Listen for Traffic Reports
With harsh weather conditions, first ask yourself if your trip is necessary, even if it’s just a short drive across town. The safest choice you can make may be to cancel or delay your trip until conditions improve. However, there are times when you don’t have a choice. Thus, be alert to traffic reports about accidents, road repairs, and bad weather. Sometimes, delaying your trip for even a couple of hours will give snowplows a chance to clear the roads and might allow time for the temperature to rise enough to make a big difference in road conditions.
Reduce Speed and Increase Following Distance
When the roads are slippery, you need to allow for a longer stopping distance. Even if you operate a four-wheel drive vehicle with new tires, snow can accumulate in the grooves, reducing your grip on the road surface. To compensate for the increase in stopping distance during slippery or wet conditions, reduce your speed and increase your following distance. If you become faced with a hazardous situation, move your foot over the brake to begin slowing down – braking smoothly and early.
Low Beams and High Beams
When you are forced to drive in snow, remember to turn on your low beams and windshield wipers. This will make you more visible in daylight hours and help your visibility as well. For night driving, use your high beams whenever they will not interfere with another driver’s ability to see the road. However, in heavy snowfall, high beams become less effective because they reflect off the snow. In these conditions, use your low beams to reduce the reflection and illuminate more of the road ahead.
Interested in learning more? Click here to check out our full list of safe driving tips.