Winter Driving Tips

Special Thanks to Colorado LCC Julie Dye for these tips:

Safe Winter Driving Tips to Share with Your Au Pair/Nanny

No matter how much experience a driver has, and no matter how large or safe a vehicle may seem, winter driving is always a challenge. Winter driving takes a special set of skills and some basic precautions. Here are a few safety tips for winter driving.

Prepare your car before the first snow and before a winter road trip. Perform a standard tune-up and inspect oil, belts, hoses, fuses and other components. Check the battery, lights, heater, defroster, wipers and brakes. Worn or loose brakes may be an annoyance in the summer, but they become very dangerous in the winter. Also, refill your antifreeze and cold-weather washer fluid. Old, brittle or damaged wipers will not remove snow and ice, and become a hazard very quickly. Similarly, standard washer fluid can create a thin film of ice on the windshield that may be more dangerous than snow buildup.

Check your tires and ask a local tire shop if your tread has adequate traction for winter driving on snow and ice. Consider buying a set of winter tires. All-wheel drive systems with electronic traction control are not as effective as quality winter tires.

Check weather and road conditions before leaving.

Pack a winter driving car safety kit, including an ice scraper, snow brush, tow chain, jumper cables, extra car fuses and flares or reflective triangles.

Carry an emergency kit that can easily be transferred to a rental car or other vehicle. It is crucial to avoid dehydration and hypothermia if you have a winter driving accident in a remote area. Keep water, blankets, boots, warm clothes and non-perishable food in your car. Also take a first aid kit, flashlight and extra batteries.

Carry non-clumping kitty litter in your car, even if you don’t have a cat. It will help weigh down the back wheels to avoid fishtailing, and can help you gain traction if you are stuck in snow or ice if you spread it on the ground.

Remove bulky coats and gloves before getting behind the wheel. Your car will warm up quickly, and you don’t want anything to hamper your ability to steer. Also, don’t drive in ski boots, snowboard boots or other bulky footwear that can interfere with using the pedals.

Allow extra time in your schedule. You don’t want to be rushed and try to drive faster than the safe speed. You also need to leave time for accidents and slow-moving traffic.

Drive slowly and cautiously around chain-up areas. Other drivers are out of their vehicles and may be hard to see if they are crouched beside the wheels.

Keep your lights and windshield clean, and drive with your lights on at all times to increase your visibility to other drivers.

Friday, 6 January 2012 4:59 PM

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