Winter driving brings many additional risks, which are only compounded by traditional risks like distracted drivers or drunk drivers. You also have to contend with black ice, slush, whiteout conditions, slick roads, freezing rain and many other hazards. Even a small dusting of snow can impact how your tires grip the road. You must know how to drive safely all year long.
Key tips from industry experts
Staying safe may feel challenging, but you can protect yourself and your family with the right mindset. Here are a few key tips to keep in mind every time you get in the car during these cold months of the year:
- Slow down if the pavement is anything less than perfectly dry. Many accidents happen because people drive quickly, the same way they drive in the summer. In the winter, even going the speed limit may be too fast.
- Create a greater distance between you and the next car. This is known as your following distance. Braking takes longer on slick roads, and driving too close means you may slide into that car in an emergency, even when you hit the brakes as fast as possible.
- Do not accelerate quickly. Doing so can make your car spin out, especially if it’s a rear-wheel-drive vehicle or one with a short wheelbase.
- Similarly, try to brake early and slowly. In fact, it’s often better to just take your foot off the gas and let the car decelerate for a bit on its own before you ever touch the brakes.
- Be extra careful in corners. You cannot always turn as aggressively or as sharply as you would in the summer. You may feel like your speed is fine on a straight road, only to find that it’s far too much in a curve.
If you slow down and drive carefully this year, you can keep from causing an accident, even in winter conditions. Unfortunately, you can’t guarantee that other drivers will do this, and they could still hit you. If you get injured, you need to know how to seek compensation.