Now that winter is here to stay, you may have realized that driving in icy or snowy road conditions isn’t an easy task. Sometimes, you don’t even realize the roads are icy until you hit the brakes and start to slide or spin.
The National Highway Safety Institute reports that 17% of all vehicle accidents happen in winter road conditions. So, it’s always better to take an extra level of precaution while driving during the winter months to avoid an accident.
Here are five tips on how to stay safe on icy, snowy winter roads:
- Get your vehicle ready. Winter is not the time to put off getting new tires for your vehicle. It’s also the time you need to make sure your windshield wiper fluid reserve is full, and your headlights and taillights are working. Keeping an ice or snow scraper in your vehicle also is a good idea, so you have it when you need to clear your windshield or windows.
- Be prepared for an emergency. This tip is good for any time of year, but especially in winter. Drivers should have jumper cables in their cars, as well as a first aid kit, emergency flares or lights and a flashlight and blanket.
- Follow the three-second rule. Tailgating is even more dangerous in winter road conditions, when vehicles can slip and slide because of ice and snow. So, drivers need to keep a three-second distance between their vehicle and the one in front of them. You can time this by counting to three anytime a vehicle in front of you passes a sign, a large building or tree or an intersection.
- Follow the speed limit. Again, when roads are slick or slippery, drivers need to slow down, to give themselves more time to react if their vehicle suddenly ends up spinning or sliding.
- Know when to use your brakes. If you do start to slide, first take your foot off the accelerator, instead of hitting the break. After a few seconds, lightly press your brakes. This will help you maintain control.
By following these tips, you are more likely to arrive safely at your destination when roads are treacherous because of winter weather.