Extreme weather during the winter can be frightening. It doesn’t matter if you’re a new driver or an experienced one, you never know what’s going to happen when the temperatures plummet, snow begins to fall, and the roads become icy.
Fortunately, you don’t need to be at the mercy of the elements when it comes to keeping you and your loved ones safe while driving. Simply follow the cold weather driving safety tips below to get you – and those you care about – to your destination, safely.
Before you take your car out on the road, follow these car safety tips to ensure your vehicle is in tip-top shape:
Take Care of Preventive Maintenance
First, do what it takes to get your car in top-notch condition for the winter weather. Regardless of your car’s age or condition, you can still do your best to make sure that everything is in working order, from a full gas tank, to proper oil changes and other fluid refills, to staying on top of any necessary routine maintenance.
Check Your Tires
Depending upon where you live, you may also want to consider changing out your regular, everyday tires – and replace them with snow tires, for snowy, icy conditions. This car safety tip can go a long way when you find yourself on a slippery, snow-covered or icy road.
Clear the Snow and Ice from your Car
Sometimes you’re in a hurry, and it’s all too easy to pull into traffic with a windshield (or the top of your car) covered in snow or ice. Unfortunately, snow and ice from the top of your car can fly off and create a hazard to people and cars around you, while a windshield covered in snow or ice obstructs your view, creating another dangerous driving condition. Don’t take chances: spend an extra minute or two warming your car up and scraping the windshield (and clearing any other snow/ice from the hood and roof) before you begin your drive.
In addition to the car itself, take a moment to stock up inside your car, SUV, or truck with items that will keep you warm, safe, and dry in the event of a breakdown. Some items to have on hand include: a blanket, extra clothing, extra towels, non-perishable snacks, and bottled water.
If you’re driving on a cold day but not wearing a coat, scarf, hat, or gloves, throw them in the back as well. If something happens to you on the road and you’re waiting for help to arrive, having those extra layers and accessories to keep you warm will be a lifesaver!
Now that your car is ready to go, follow these winter driving safety tips to make any drive a safe one, no matter the conditions:
Steer in the direction of the slide
Losing control and sliding on snow or ice is incredibly scary, but knowing what to do can make the difference between getting through the slick spot safely – and getting into an accident. To make this driving behavior second-nature, find a wide open parking lot to practice during the next snow or ice storm. Take some time to drive and hit your brakes hard (to begin sliding). Then, practice steering in the direction of the slide. Tip: Check to make sure the lot is clear of vehicles and pedestrians!
Be vigilant when it comes to black ice
This is a dangerous one: black ice causes extremely treacherous road conditions. Not only is the road slick, but also because that thin layer of ice allows you to see the blacktop, you may mistakenly think you’re on solid ground – with traction – when you’re not. You’ll typically see black ice form when there is a layer of rain that suddenly freezes on the roads (for example, as the sun sets and temperatures drop). Pay attention to temperatures, because with black ice – even without snow – you can find yourself in a very dangerous driving situation.
When maneuvering your car through snow and ice, be gentle with your steering. Jerky movements can cause your car to slide, as well as result in a loss of control. On the other hand, smooth and gradual turns and steering allow you to make minor adjustments as the road conditions change.
Stay Off the Roads
Sometimes the best solution is to stay off the roads – especially when black ice is imminent. Pay attention to weather forecasts, and do your best to avoid driving during the most dangerous times: before roads are plowed, when black ice is known to be on the roads, during a white-out blizzard, etc. In these instances, your plans are not worth putting yourself and your loved ones at risk.
Silent Beacon is your one-button push to safety in cold weather. This small, lightweight personal safety device is the perfect companion when you’re driving and need to get help quickly and easily. With a push of the panic button, the Silent Beacon communicates with the free Silent Beacon safety app to push out alerts to your contact list (including emergency personnel) via phone call, text, and/or email. Meanwhile, the GPS technology makes it easy for first responders to find you right away. Plus, with no recurring charges, startup or cancellation fees, this affordable device is the perfect way to get help when you need it most. To learn more or to purchase your Silent Beacon today, visit https://silentbeacon.com/.
Of course, cold weather driving can present you with safety issues during the winter months. But thanks to Silent Beacon – and by following the tips from above – you can enjoy traveling this winter, safely and with peace of mind.