Driving in winter brings new challenges with snow and ice. Sometimes it can be hard — or even dangerous — trying to get from point A to point B in the winter months. These are some tips to help you be prepared to drive in the winter.
Before you get stuck or stranded in snow and ice:
- Maintain your car, including tires, brakes, windshield wipers, and fluid. Be sure to have a deicer fluid for your windshield.
- Purchase all radial, snow tires, or chains. (Storage is needed if you switch from snow to regular tires.)
- Check weather and traffic before you go.
- Give yourself plenty of time to get where you are going.
- Drive slowly and be gentle on your steering wheel and breaks.
- Charge your phones. Bring your adapter/charger. Better yet, keep an extra set in the car.
- Dress warmly, including a hat as most heat escapes through your head. Wear layers, as layers can keep you warmer.
- Keep a blanket or two and a flashlight in your car in a place where you can get to it if you get stuck.
- Get some flares in case you get into an accident or get stuck to help with visibility.
- Bring water, snacks, formula, emergency meds including asthma inhaler as well as hard candy or high sugar juice packets if someone is diabetic.
- Keep some sunglasses in the car. They will help with the glare of the sun on the snow.
- Store some hot hands and feet warming packets.
- Keep a shovel and an ice scraper in your car.
- Kitty litter and/or pet friendly “salt” is essential to melt ice, if needed.
- When you are going to and from your car on an icy day, keep some “salt” in a salt shaker and spread it in front of you as you walk on untreated or slick, refrozen areas. Watch out for “black ice.”
- While driving, if you find yourself in a skid, stay calm and drive into the direction of your car. Ease off the gas. Don’t brake hard. Know if you have an anti braking system to best handle the road conditions. Here are some tips from Car and Driver on driving on dangerous roads.
- Keep your gas tank full. That way, in the event of an emergency, that is one thing you don’t have to worry about.
With these tips, you can keep yourself safe when traveling in inclement winter weather. As always, when the roads are bad, stay home if you can. But if you can’t, there are plenty of ways to stay safe.
By Serrin M. Foster and Bethanie Ryan