10 Tips for Safer Winter Driving

10 Tips for Safer Winter Driving

January 28, 2020

We are right in the middle of winter and would love nothing more than to stay at home with a big blanket and some hot chocolate, but our day-to-day lives wont allow it. We will inevitably have to leave our homes, whether it's for work or to stock up on more hot chocolate from the grocery store, so here are 10 tips for making your commute safer with this winter's weather.

  1. Fill Up! – Check your battery’s charge, Keep the antifreeze and washer fluid full, Fill up your tires to the proper pressure, make sure your defrosters are working properly, and keep your gas tank full to avoid frozen fuel lines.

  2. One Thing at a Time – Don’t turn while braking or speeding up. Slowdown first, turn, then speed up.

  3. Find the Hiding Places - Ice will be on your roof, mirrors, head and taillights, exhaust pipe, hood, license plate, and windows. Make sure that these are cleared off before driving, since airborne ice and snow is a hazard for other drivers.

  4. Not Too Hot When It’s Too Cold – NEVER pour hot fluids onto your windows to melt the ice and snow. If you’re running late in the morning, save your coffee and keep a spray bottle of two-parts isopropyl alcohol and one-part water in your car to melt the cold away. Also remember to use your defrosters and plastic scrapers to protect your glass and avoid using your wipers until all the ice and snow is gone.

  5. Take the Road More Traveled – Drive in the paths that have already been dug out and worn by other vehicles. If you get stuck, keep the wheels as straight as possible and don’t spin them. Lay down the cat litter or sand, or even your car mats to create traction.

  6. Expect the Unexpected – Keep a survival kit in the car, just in case. Include blankets, hats, and waterproof gloves and boots. Also keep items to create traction like cat litter or sand, as well as jumper cables and a small shovel, in the event that your car gets stuck.

  7. Practice Makes Perfect – After a snow, ice, or rainstorm, try out your brakes and turns in a familiar parking lot while it’s empty.

  8. Fresh Air - Make sure to always warm up your car outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, and to clear your exhaust pipe before running your car.

  9. Hit the Brakes (Wisely) – If your vehicle has an ABS (Anti-lock Braking System), hit the brakes and keep it depressed. This will cause the ABS to continue to pump the brakes for you if at least one wheel is turning. If all wheels have stopped but the vehicle is still sliding, you need to manually pump the brakes because the ABS has failed.

  10. Runaway Car – If you begin to skid, remain calm. Don’t speed up or brake, but slowly turn in the direction you want to go in. This should help you regain control once the vehicle once it slows down.

The only way to completely ensure that you don’t have an accident is to stay off the roads during bad winter weather. But, if you do have to make a trip and something happens, Lofton Wells Insurance will be ready to assist you in the event of a service need or claims call, and get you back home safely as quickly as possible.