Driving safely in winter weather can be a challenge for even the most experienced driver. It is sometimes easy to forget, after summer weather conditions, that winter driving demands extra attention and precaution. From a report collected in 2016, Idaho ranked number 4 in the Top 10 most dangerous states for snow driving, with Wyoming in ranking in first place.
Follow these helpful tips to prepare for this winter:
Inspect your car
If possible, before the winter season begins, have a thorough inspection of your vehicle, including; all fluid levels, tire tread and pressure, and battery levels.
Keep a safety kit in your car all year
Things like first aid kit, jack, and road flares should be on hand no matter what. You may also want to add in seasonal items as well, in case of a break down or getting stuck. Things like, extra warm layers (blanket, gloves, etc…), flashlight, bag of sand/cat litter (this can help if your tires become stuck in the snow), ice scraper/brush, and possibly a small shovel.
If you must drive, you should:
- Start your car and turn on the front and rear defrosters to help soften the ice and snow. It will also help warm up your car while you scrape snow/ice from the car.
- Drive with your lights on, even during the day. Winter weather conditions reduce visibility.
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight.
- Overall drive slower. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
- Tackling a skid
- Don’t panic
- Take your foot off of the accelerator
- Turn your steering wheel in the direction you want your front wheels to go, and apply steady pressure to anti-lock brakes or gently pump standard brakes.
- Allow your vehicle to slow down before attempting to regain control
- Whenever possible, postpone the trip when the weather is difficult.
- Check weather conditions for your travel route (and time) before you begin driving.