10 Best Practices for Winter Driving
If you live in a part of the country that gets cold and sees accumulating snow, you know driving in severe weather can not only be scary, but dangerous. Here are 10 best practices for winter driving to help you feel confident and keep you safe out on the road.
Get Your Car Serviced
Check Your Battery
When the temperature drops, so does your car’s battery power. New car batteries run between $50 and $200, but the peace of mind they provide during the colder months and winter driving are priceless.
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Winter Driving: Go Slow and Leave Space
Posted speed limits are for dry pavement and braking takes longer in slick conditions, so leave plenty of room for stopping. When roads are icy or snow-covered, leave at least a 10-second gap between you and the car in front of you.
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Watch Your Wipers
You use your windshield wipers constantly during winter driving so make sure they’re up for the job. And replace worn blades and be sure to keep windshield wiper fluid with de-icer in your vehicle’s trunk so you’re never stuck without.
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Correct a Slide
If you start to lose control, it means you’re going too fast for winter driving conditions. And if your vehicle begins to fishtail, turn your wheels in the same direction that the rear of the vehicle is sliding. Don’t use your brakes to correct a slide. Also, when you regain traction, straighten out the steering wheel.
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Have an Emergency Kit
Stock your vehicle with items that can help you in an emergency, such as a snow shovel, sand and/or kitty litter and an ice scrapper. It’s also a good idea to keep an emergency kit with items such as a hat and mittens, a flashlight, and flares. Or even an emergency triangle, blankets, any necessary medication, a car charger for your cell phone, water and a few non-perishable snacks.
Use Caution Around Snow Plows
Remember that snow plows make wide turns, throw snow and take up a lot of space on the road. Driving behind a snow plow is safe, but allow yourself plenty of room and never drive beside a snow plow for an extended period of time.
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What to Do in An Emergency
If you do end up stuck in a ditch while winter driving or on the side of the road in need of help, stay with your car. And put out a reflective road triangle if you have one or tie a bright piece of fabric to your antenna, if you have one. Keep your interior dome light turned on if it’s dark outside. Run your vehicle in short spurts, just to stay warm and be sure to remove any snow from the exhaust pipe.
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