One of the major preventative measures that can be taken to protect yourself from being stranded or involved in an accident is to keep up on basic maintenance procedures and follow safety rules. The following is a list of precautions that can be taken to prevent you from being stranded or involved in a winter accident.
- Make sure the battery is in good condition
- Change you oil regularly and rotate tires
- Check your antifreeze level
- Check your tire tread
- Purchase winter tires
- Make sure your windshield wipers function properly
- Use no-freeze windshield washer fluids
- Keep your car windows clear of ice and snow at all times
- Always wear a seat-belt
- Keep an emergency kit in the trunk filled with necessary survival items
Following those guidelines, you can lessen your chances of a dangerous situation involving icy roads and slick conditions. Basic vehicle maintenance will keep your vehicle healthy and in good operating condition.
In the winter, accidents seem to be more prevalent. What can be even scarier is if you are involved in one of those accidents. Here are some things you can do to make sure your winter driving is safe and accident free.
- Never operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other mind altering substance. Many accidents are caused by drugs and alcohol.
- Drive slowly. Leaving yourself ample time to reach your destination can be very conducive to your safe arrival.
- Keep a safe distance between you and other cars. It is easy to slide into another vehicle when you are too close. You do not have control over your car when you are on ice.
- Designate a driver if you will be drinking. This is critical to your own safety as well as the safety of others. Call a friend or a cab if you have been drinking and always plan ahead.
- Make sure that you are not fatigued and are well rested. Certain over the counter and prescription medications that cause drowsiness create difficulty when operating a vehicle, especially in the snow. Make sure that you are not driving while on these medications and make sure that you have had plenty of rest.
- Remain alert and aware of pedestrians. Always slow down at intersections and proceed with caution.
- Avoid slamming on your brakes and quick sharp turns. This can be prevented by keeping a safe distance between you and other drivers. Know your brakes, learn them. Practice hitting your brakes and slamming them in a large, open parking lot so that you know your limits in an emergency situation.
- Be careful of dips in the road or hills. It is easy to lose control when going down a hill. When approaching a hill, go slowly down and try not to make sharp turns. Going uphill, you will have to create a certain amount of momentum to make it to the top.
While winter driving is often a necessary fact of life, it can also present unique dangers and challenges to even the most experienced drivers. Before you set out on your next winter drive, try to remember some of the tips provided here for safe winter driving.