Winter months are here, yet we must travel on! Whether it’s a trip to work, social gatherings/events, or to visit family, you may be faced with hazardous driving conditions. Driving in snowy or icy conditions has its share of risks, so it’s essential to establish key driving tips to ensure safe travels this winter.
Rain, Sleet, or Snow…Winter Guidelines to Driving Safely
Having an accident is never convenient or pleasurable, so making sure you exercise extreme caution when heading out in winter weather conditions can minimize the likelihood of an accident happening. Below are some basic guidelines to follow to optimize safety while traveling the roadways.
Refrain from Letting Your Car Idle- It is not necessary to sit in your car and let your car idle to warm up the engine. In fact, this can be hazardous to the car engine. After one minute of being turned on, your engine is fully lubricated so all you need to do is simply drive the car.
Keep Your Tire Pressure Inflated- You may have been told to reduce your tire pressure when driving on snowy or icy roads, but this isn’t necessary. Reducing the pressure does not increase tire traction, so maintain the required tire PSI (pound per square inch) for your vehicle. During the winter months, you may notice a reduction of tire pressure on its own so be prepared to put air in the tires as needed.
Invest in Winter Weather Tires- If your particular area is predisposed to hazardous driving conditions in the winter, it may be wise to invest in winter tires to increase traction. These tires make it safer to operate your vehicle when the temperatures drop below 45 degrees and when there are snowy and icy road situations.
Beware of Black Ice- If you know the temperatures are below freezing and there has been some precipitation, you should exercise extreme caution when driving. Black ice isn’t always visible so slow down, don’t pump the brakes, and be prepared to stop if encountering black ice. Never slam on the brakes, but instead, apply them gently while maintaining control of the wheel of the car.
Don’t Pour Warm/Hot Water on Your Windshield- When you see your car and windshield is covered with ice or snow, never pour hot water on the windshield as a way to clear or melt the precipitation. You may be left with a thawed out, broken windshield. Better options include using the front and rear defroster while you scrape your windshield. You may also consider a deicing spray or a homemade solution of water and isopropyl alcohol as a deicer.
Consider an Emergency Kit- When going out in winter weather conditions, it is wise to prepare for scenarios that could happen. You may have an accident in a rural area, have a breakdown on the roadway, or have a flat tire. Depending on the situation and location, it could take hours for assistance so when heading out you need to be prepared. Below are a few key items to have in your vehicle during the winter months, but not limited to:
- List of emergency numbers
- Tire pressure gauge/inflator
- Cell phone and car charger
- First aid kit
- Car manual
Don’t Pump Your Brakes- With today’s vehicle technology, it is no longer necessary to pump your breaks if you find yourself sliding or losing traction. Newer cars have ABS (Antilock Braking Systems) that allow you to regain traction when hitting ice and snow. When your car detects the loss of traction, the ABS will activate so you don’t need to pump your brakes.
Instill Safe Driving Practices- You can have all the equipment on your car such as winter tires, anti-lock brakes, or even four-wheel drive, but if you aren’t using safe driving practices, you can still have an accident, endangering you, your car, and others on the roadway. Make sure each time you get behind the wheel of your car during wintry weather scenarios, you exercise good driving practices.
Driving Tips for Safety This Winter!
Winter months can bring colder temperatures, black ice, and snowy road conditions, so it is essential to familiarize yourself with key driving tips to optimize safety and reduce the risk of an auto accident. If you have any questions or concerns on driving safely this winter, don’t hesitate to call our offices at Cameron Group Insurance for assistance. We are here for all your New York auto insurance needs. Don’t wait! Call us today at 845-627-2130.