Winter storms, snow and ice have made regular appearances this winter and it looks like more is heading our way tonight. While this is not a typical winter here in Mid-Missouri, we always have a few days of winter weather that make driving difficult. If you are not prepared or don’t know how to drive in these conditions it can be both scary and dangerous for anyone out on the road. According to research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, “winter weather conditions are a factor in nearly half a million crashes and more than 2000 road deaths every winter.” Those statistics are enough to make me want to just stay home, but sometimes that just isn’t possible for everyone.
Winter weather tends to catch us off guard a little bit, especially if you live in an area that normally doesn’t get a lot of snow or ice. However, if you take some simple steps to be prepared before the cold hits then traveling during the winter months will be a little more safe for you and your family. For those of you that have to go out we have some tips below to help you get prepared and for driving during the winter weather.
Prepare for the Cold:
- Stock your car with the following as a winter emergency kit:
- granola bars
- warm clothes
- glass scraper.
- Check your tires to make sure they have both enough air and good tread.
- Make sure you keep your gas tank above half a tank during the winter months. If you get stuck in the cold you will want to have enough gas to turn the car on periodically to take the chill out of the car.
Tips for Winter Weather Driving:
- Take it slow: the roads are slick and your car will not brake and stop like normal. Slow down to give yourself plenty of time to get stopped if necessary.
- No sudden changes: just like you can’t stop fast above you also can’t start going as fast as normal. Ease into every start and stop in your car to avoid your tires spinning or brakes locking up.
- Don’t follow too close: give yourself more room between your car and the one in front of you. It takes longer to slow down.
- Allow extra time: all of the above result in getting where you need to be taking longer than normal. Be sure to allow for a longer commute.
- Turn on your lights: winter weather tends to make visibility go down so go ahead and turn those lights one to be safe.
- Do not use your cruise control: when your cruise control is on you may not realize that your car is loosing traction until it is too late.
- Be a Defensive driver: be alert and aware of other cars on the road and to animals crossing the road.