There are always risks and hazards when taking your car out on the road, but winter conditions exacerbate existing perils. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, over 1,300 people are killed and nearly 117,000 injured every year in vehicles involving snowy, slushy or icy conditions. With that in mind, it’s clear that all drivers must take the risks of winter driving seriously.
5 Tips for Safe Winter Driving
Although winter conditions may be dangerous, many precautions can help reduce risks and hazards. Before getting behind the wheel and driving during the winter, consider taking the following steps:
1. Conduct vehicle maintenance. The condition of your vehicle and its various components play a significant role in keeping you and your passengers safe. Routinely check the following:
- Tires (e.g., condition, pressure)
- Wiper blades
2. Put together emergency supplies. Being stranded in your vehicle during winter conditions can be fatal. Be prepared by keeping a supply kit with you that ensures you will have access to the following:
- Drinking water
- Nonperishable food
- Extra clothing/blankets
- Ice scraper
- Jumper cables
- Flashlight and extra batteries
3. Plan ahead. Winter conditions may make it take longer for you to travel. Check the forecast along your route in both directions. In addition, be sure to budget enough time to allow your engine to warm up and to clear any ice and snow from your vehicle.
4. Drive carefully. Driving responsibly is always important, but caution may be even more crucial amid the dangers of winter weather. While on the road, adhere to the following behavior:
- Reduce speed.
- Accelerate and brake gradually
- Take turns slowly and steer in the direction of a skid if you go into one.
- Avoid stopping on hills whenever possible.
- Increase your following distance behind other vehicles to approximately 8 to 10 seconds.
5. Maintain adequate insurance. Even if you are diligent and responsible in preparing for winter conditions, accidents can still happen. An adequate auto insurance policy may provide critical financial assistance if an accident leaves your vehicle damaged or you at fault for another party’s losses.
Find Out More
The conditions of winter can make even short and familiar trips extremely dangerous. In addition to ice, sleet and snow affecting road conditions, reduced sunlight may affect visibility and cold temperatures could affect your vehicle’s functionality. Regardless of how safe of a driver you may be or how much experience you have driving in poor weather, winter is not the time to be cutting corners.
For over 50 years, the agents at Lohman Companies have worked to help drivers in the Moline area stay safe on the road and maintain optimal auto insurance. Visit our website or call 309-764-8331 to learn more.
This blog is intended for informational and educational use only. It is not exhaustive and should not be construed as legal advice. Please contact your insurance professional for further information.