5 Winter Driving Safety Tips

January 26, 2018

As winter weather continues to hit us hard here in the Northeast, we need to be more conscious of our driving habits than ever. Here are 5 winter driving safety tips to keep in mind the next time a storm hits. If you do not have to leave your home during harsh winter weather, it is recommended that you don’t.

1. Don’t rush

It takes longer to slow down and stop on icy roads. Be mindful of the delay and do not try to rush if you must drive in winter weather conditions. Accelerate and decelerate slowly, keeping a safe distance between your car and the car in front of you.

2. Clear off your car

Be sure to clear off any ice and snow from your car before driving it. Excess snow or ice may fall in front of your windshield, impairing your visibility. Make sure your roof, windows, and windshields are completely clear, and be sure to check your tailpipe as well, as ice and snow can accumulate inside it.  Cleaning your roof of snow is not only a smart safety tip, it can also save you from getting a ticket, as failing to do so is illegal in many states.

3. Don’t try to power up hills

If you are approaching a hill, do not try to speed up as you approach it. Speeding on slippery roads causes your wheels to spin without traction. Let the inertia you already have power you up the hill. Proceed down icy hills with caution, using a lower gear so your engine can regulate your descent at a slower speed without hitting your brakes.

4. Warm your car up safely

Never attempt to warm up your car in an enclosed area, like your garage. Always back the car out before warming it up to avoid dangerous carbon monoxide exposure.  Check your tailpipes too in order to ensure that the exhaust isn’t caked with ice or snow and can flow cleanly without backing up CO gas into the cabin of the vehicle.

5. Be prepared

If you are going to be traveling in the snow, always go prepared. Be sure to have at least a half tank of gas, to avoid your gas line freezing. Always travel with your cell phone, gloves, extra clothes and/or blankets, a reliable ice-scraper and keep cat litter or sand in your trunk to create a balance of weight to your car on slippery roads.