Although winter isn’t fully here yet, there is no question that the cold season is on its way. The leaves are almost gone, and the sunshine has taken on that dull winter glow as this side of the planet tips away from the sun.
Pretty soon, there will be snow on the ground or sleet coming down instead of rain. With the picturesque landscapes such weather produces comes the increased risk for crashes while driving. Now is the time to start preparing yourself for safe driving during the winter months.
Adjust your daily schedule to accommodate unexpected weather
One of the biggest issues that people have with winter driving involves the failure to adjust their driving habits to weather conditions. Going 55 mph on a stretch of road may be perfectly safe in the summer but dangerous when snow has accumulated on the street.
You need enough flexibility in your daily schedule so that you can get where you need to go on time even if you have to drive at half of your normal speed. Getting up a little earlier every day so that you can check the weather conditions in the morning and leave early if necessary will set you up for safe driving all season.
Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter roads
It can be easy to ignore minor maintenance issues when the weather is good. Your brakes being a little bit touchy or your tires occasionally slipping a little bit may not seem like a very big deal. However, in the winter months, increased stopping times and loss of traction could be catastrophic problems. Check your vehicle for safety concerns or better yet, take it to a mechanic you trust for a seasonal inspection to see if there is any necessary maintenance.
Leave enough space between your vehicle and others on the road
Even if you have new tires, it’s going to take you longer to stop in bad winter weather conditions. Even if it is just very cold, there may be small amounts of precipitation on the surface of the road and reduced traction in your tires due to the cold affecting overall air pressure.
Going a little slower and having more space between your vehicle and others can help you avoid becoming another winter crash statistic. According to the Federal Highway Administration, about 900 people die and another 76,000 people get hurt every year because of snow- or sleet-related crashes. The more careful you are on the winter roads, the more likely it is that you can avoid getting into a preventable weather-related crash.