Winter is here and is sure to bring Albany residents our
fair share of ice and snow. Following a few basic winter driving safety tips
can reduce your chances of a mishap while driving in unfavorable conditions.
It's best to stay off the roads during major snow storms if you can... and if
you can't, be sure to drive safely!
Listed below are 10 basic safety tips for driving in winter weather conditions.
10 Winter Driving Safety Tips:
Clear Your Windshield:
Don't be one of those winter drivers who heads down the road peering through a tiny hole in their frosty windshield. Take the time to scrape your entire windshield, side windows and back window of your vehicle, or give your car time to warm up and fully defrost. Snow, ice and frost can block your plane of view, increasing blind spots and greatly increasing your chance of an accident.
Get All The Snow Off:
Yes, this includes the roof of your vehicle! Drivers who do not fully clean their cars present a hazard to others on the road. As you drive, any snow or ice that remains on your car will leave a wintry trail behind you for others to avoid. Solid snow and ice chunks tumbling off your car could also potentially cause damage to vehicles following you.
Drive With Your Headlights On:
Your headlights not only help you to see in poor weather conditions, but they also help you to be seen by other drivers on dreary winter days. Be sure to scrape the snow, dirt and frost from your headlights when you're cleaning the rest of your car.
Reduce Your Speed:
If your worry is being late, leave early. Don't drive too fast for the conditions. Experts recommend driving at least 5 miles below the speed limit when the weather is bad. People who drive at a reduced speed are much less likely to be involved in a serious car accident. Depending on the length of your trip, faster speeds may only actually save you a minute or two, but in winter weather conditions, they could end up costing you your life. Remember, it's better to arrive late than never!
The last thing you want to do in slippery conditions is slam on your breaks! If you are following at a safe distance and driving at a reduced speed, you should be able to come to a stop by slowing down well in advance and slowly applying and pumping the breaks.
Do Not Tailgate:
Keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you. Even when the weather conditions are ideal, experts recommend being at least two car lengths behind the car in front of you. When driving in snowy and icy conditions, it is best to increase that to at least three.
Respect Tractor Trailers:
This applies to driving year-round! A tractor trailer is almost ALL blind spots. Do not follow too closely! If you can’t see their side mirrors, the driver can't see you. If you must pass them, do not linger at their side where they will not see you and may attempt to change lanes with you there. Do NOT cut off a tractor trailer! Even in the best of driving conditions, these giant trucks cannot stop like a car (which makes perfect sense if you consider the number of tons behind them), so do not risk potential injury from a large truck hitting you by driving irresponsibly.
Use Extra Caution When Go Over
Since air is colder than the ground, bridges tend to be icier than roads and often develop black ice, even when the roads themselves are just wet. Reduce your speed when going over bridges, and be mindful of 'invisible' black ice.
Even if you're a very responsible and safe winter driver, there is no way to predict other drivers' behavior or what may happen on the roadways. It is a good idea to keep warm winter clothing, a blanket and a flashlight in your car during the winter, just in case. Always make sure you have your cell phone fully charged. In the event that you do go off the road or break down, turn your flashers on, stay in your car and wait for help to arrive.
The only thing that makes you safer than practicing safe driving habits... is when others also practice safe driving habits! Help make the roadways a safer place this winter by sharing these winter driving safety tips on your social media pages. It's a great way to show your friends that you care about their safety... and your own!