We’re about to enter into the heart of winter, and that means the snow is about to drop, and our roads are about to become a vast network of icy death slides. Around this time of year, driving becomes a far more dangerous activity, as many people in the general population struggle with driving in the snow, either because of their own inexperience, apathy to learn, or because their vehicle simply cannot handle the elements that they are driving in. However, the roads during winter can be a lot safer if we all take some time to drive a little bit better in the dangerous conditions. Here is a list of things to remember about driving in the snow in winter.
Switch to Winter Tires
Your tires are the connection between your vehicle and road, and often make the difference between whether or not you are able to have full control of the stop and go functions of your car. For this reason, it is important that your tires are outfitted to handle the wet and cold conditions. To do this, it is highly recommended that you make the switch to winter tires, which are made of a pliable rubber that doesn’t harden up in the cold. On top of that, it is important to take your tires in to get a rotation, the right amount of air pressure for winter, and other tire maintenance.
Be Aware of Snow Reflections
Although there is less daylight during the winter, because the days are shorter, a bright and sunny day during the wintertime is actually going to be a lot brighter than it is in the summertime. This is because the ground is likely to be covered in white snow, which is highly reflective and bounces sunlight at you from different directions. This added brightness can be a major driving hazard.
Do a Preliminary Weather Check Every Time You Drive
It’s usually a lot easier to drive on snow that has already fallen, rather than head out in the middle of a snowstorm. For this reason, try to avoid going out into a storm if you can avoid it. The decreased visibility of a snowstorm means that you are more likely to be unable to reach a stop before hitting hazards in the road, since it will take you longer to see them, on top of the fact that freshly fallen snow is incredibly difficult to gain traction on. Check the weather before driving somewhere. It’s usually not worth the risk to head somewhere when conditions are so harsh.
Avoid Slopes Your Vehicle Can’t Handle
If you are going up or down a hill in the snow, especially if that road hasn’t been plowed, then you are going to need tires with excellent traction and a vehicle with AWD (all-wheel drive). If you don’t think your vehicle fits into this category, then park a little further away and walk to your destination, or try to find another route. Going up a hill can make your vehicle get stuck if it can’t make it up, and going down a hill that you might not be able to stop has a high risk of getting into an auto accident.
Don’t Let Your Fuel Level Get Low
It sucks to get stuck in the snow when you are driving around, but it is something that frequently happens in winter. Sometimes, you might be able to dig your own car out of a snowy situation, but there are other times that you might need to wait for AAA or a family member to come and pull you out. For this reason, you want to make sure that you can stay warm during that time, so you should always make sure that your vehicle has at least half of a tank of gasoline, so that you don’t find yourself freezing in the middle of nowhere while you wait for someone to come bail you out.