The Midwest usually experiences a large amount of snow every year, and while many have spent most of their lives driving in snow, it is a great idea to have a refresh on driving in the snow. Plus judging by the number of wrecks that happen during the winter months, many aren’t following some basic safe driving practices.
A big part of the danger during winter driving is cold. Being prepared is a great way to prevent some of the risks if you are involved in a wreck or have engine problems. With some of the temperatures we have had this winter you can get frostbite in as little as 30 minutes. Having an emergency kit is very important, and could save your life, or at least keep you from suffering injury. Some of the items to keep in your car should be a snow shovel and brush, ice pick, and some basic tools such as pliers, wrench, and screwdrivers. Keeping a bag of sand can also help if you get stuck in the snow. Bring extra clothes, gloves, hat, and blankets in case you somehow get stranded in your vehicle for an extended period of time. Keep a few granola bars and water in your car as well. You can easily purchase an emergency kit if you don’t want to make your own.
Check your tires
Check the tires of your vehicle regularly throughout the winter. If your tires are under-inflated it can decrease fuel mileage, could wear your tires out, and reduce traction. Cold temperatures will actually change the pressure within your tires. Add air to your tires to increase the pressure and this could help reduce the chance of hydroplaning. Winter tires may be a great idea in some areas. To check the tread of your tires take a penny, stick it head down and if any part of Lincoln’s head is covered by the tread then your tires should still have enough tread.
When coming up to stops or lights start slowing down sooner than you normally would, stopping is when sliding usually happens. On the same note, keep a larger distance between your car and the vehicle in front of you. You want to have room In case of skidding. If you do start to skid experts advice that you let go of the gas and steer in the direction you want to go. You should not push on the gas or break until you have the car back under control. Never jerk the wheel as this will often cause the vehicle to spin out of control. Over correction is a very common issue.
Know your car
Nearly every modern car comes with traction control which is used to help keep your car under control in slick conditions. Generally, the car does this by reducing the throttle and applying the breaks to individual tires. It usually will stop the drive wheels from spinning if there isn’t traction. Don't fight traction control.
This causes more wrecks during the winter then anything else. People drive to quickly and then when they need to slow down they slam on their breaks and lose control. Many accidents could be prevented if people went slower.
Be safe this winter, and while it may not be directly related to driving, always have adequate coverage for you vehicle. This can help protect you and other drivers from expensive accidents.