Aceable is based out of Texas (a land without snowplows or tire chains), so “winter weather” usually means a light drizzle on a 45-degree day. We get used to driving habits that work with dry, sunny days. That’s why it’s important for us (and everyone!) to learn how to handle vehicles when the roadway is suddenly coated in ice and everyone else is still driving like it’s whatever.
If you’re about to embark on a journey through some nasty sleet or snow, communication is the key to safety. Tell someone where you’re going, what your general route will be, and what time you expect to arrive. A little more detailed than the requisite “Text me when you get there,” but it’s the safe way. If you lose signal or phone battery life and get stuck in a freak avalanche, at least someone will know to look for you.
4. Have an Emergency Kit
Your vehicle has a trunk, right? Dedicate a little space for an emergency kit just in case you get stranded in terrible weather. It should include a phone charger, blankets or warm clothing, a basic first aid kit (plus any specific medications you or your family members might need), a shovel, and drinking water. Monopoly and Cheez-its are optional. It’s also good to have the contact info for a service like AAA in case you need assistance.
3. Keep Up with Maintenance
There is never a convenient time for your car to break down, but you REALLY don’t want to be stuck on the side of the road during a winter storm. That’s why it’s extra important to make sure your preventive maintenance is up to date before winter hits. Make sure your brakes are working perfectly (bad brakes don’t stand a chance on icy roads) and check the tread and air pressure in your tires (Did you know that a tire gets lower air pressure when the temperature outside dips?). And for the love of Ace, handle that check engine light that’s been staring you down! Also, make sure your antifreeze is topped off and your windshield wipers are working properly. Fresh new wipers will effectively clear snow and ice from your windshield.
2. Go Slow
The biggest threat to drivers on wet, icy, and snowy roads is the loss of traction. If you’re driving on such a road with the same speed and carelessness that most drivers have on a sunny day, you’re going to skid. Just slow down and keep your hands on the wheel at all times. Accelerate and apply brakes gradually to avoid losing traction and and causing your tires to slide across lanes. Also, do one maneuver at a time. It’s more important than ever to reduce your speed THEN turn your steering wheel instead of hitting the brakes while turning. Drive like a grandma. It’s fine.
1. Stay home if Possible
And the number one way to stay safe during winter weather? Don’t drive at all! Seriously. Avoid the roads and leave your vehicle in the driveway to collect snow. If you don’t absolutely need to get somewhere, go ahead and make some hot chocolate and chill on the couch.
If you do have to drive on snowy or icy roads, just remember to follow these tips. Take it slow, practice gradual braking, and stay safe out there!