Winter poses many challenges for those who drive. Whether running errands in the neighborhood, commuting on surface roads or traveling on the tollways, the combination of cold and inclement weather dramatically increases the risks. This can involve trying to navigate slippery roads, black ice, whiteout conditions, snow on the ground, darkness, and sunrise and sunset commutes into the sun.
Winter driving tips
It is essential to ensure that the car is maintained correctly, but it can provide peace of mind if there are a first aid kit and survival items like water and a blanket stored in it. The state also recommends these essential driving tips:
- Give yourself extra space to stop and slow down before entering a turn.
- Don’t leave your vehicle running for hours, but it important to give even newer cars a minute to warm up and clear the windshield.
- Pay attention to the weather reports and plan to avoid driving when it is particularly hazardous.
- Clear snow and ice from the vehicle so you can see, others can see you, and others are not hit by chunks that slide off because you didn’t brush off the car.
- Modern vehicles have anti-lock braking, so press down the brake pedal rather than pump it.
- Drive with extreme caution on bridges and overpasses – their road surfaces are 5-6 degrees colder than regular roads.
- Keep your lights on during those sunrise and sunset drives.
Not everyone will be this careful
It’s an unfortunate reality that not everyone will exercise caution during winter driving, or they let down their guard because they think the road is safe. Motor vehicle crashes can lead to severe injuries during other times of the year, but emergency vehicles may not be as available, nor can they travel quickly. Waiting for help can seem like an eternity when the temperatures are below freezing, and injuries can worsen because of it. Considering how high the stakes are, it is important to remember that there is no excuse for others to drive recklessly this winter.