Winter Driving Tips
Arrive Alive... or Just Stay Home
Roads can be positively deadly in the wintertime. According to icyroadsafety.com, there were an average of 467 fatalities per year between 2008 and 2010 due to icy roads alone. And, even if you live in warmer climates, winter driving can be a wild and wooly experience regardless.
Whether your region is besieged by ice, blanketed in snow, soaked with rain, or one of those places that experiences a once-in-a-blue-moon taste of the aforementioned conditions, it's always imperative to be prepared. Even in warm, sunny locales, the abundance of stressed-out drivers during the holidays can make roads more hazardous than usual.
Use the following guidelines to ensure you travel safely in Washington this winter.
- Make sure your tires are properly inflated, and never combine radial tires with other tire types.
- In cold weather conditions, always keep your gas tank at least half-full to prevent your gas line from freezing.
- Never drive while fatigued.
- Avoid using the parking break in cold, wet and/or snowy weather, as it may get stuck.
- Do not use cruise control when driving on a wet, icy, sandy, or otherwise slippery road conditions.
- Don't over exert yourself if you try to push or dig your vehicle out of the snow; you'll be dangerously tired when it's time to drive again.
- If your vehicle becomes stuck in the snow, stay put. Your auto will provide shelter and make it easier for rescuers to locate you. Do not try to walk in a severe storm; you can lose sight of your vehicle in blowing snow and get lost.
- If you are forced to wait out a storm in your vehicle, use whatever's handynewspaper, floor matsto keep yourself warm. Turn on the engine briefly and only when necessary to heat up the car; do not leave it running.
- Make sure your vehicle's exhaust pipe is free from snow, ice, or mud. A blocked exhaust may cause carbon monoxide gas to leak into vehicle's interior while the engine is running.
- Delay road trips when especially bad weather has been forecasted. If you must travel, always inform others of your route, destination, and estimated time of arrival.
- When driving on snow, accelerate slowly, helping you to gain traction and avoid skids.
- Similarly, decelerate slowly on snowy roads, because it takes longer to stop.
- Break properly. Whether your vehicle has antilock brakes or not, it's best to employ threshold breaking: keeping the heel of your foot on the floor, use ball of your foot to place firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
- Pay attention and shun distractions. Always look in the direction that you are headed.
- Needless to say, always wear a seatbelt.
Finally, always assess the need to drive this winter. Unless it's absolutely necessary to be someplace, consider keeping things simple and safe, and staying home on really snowy days. Is it really necessary to make another trip to the mall if you can shop for presents online? Go out to a restaurant for dinner when there's food at home? Drive around in search of entertainment when you can cuddle up by the fire and watch the snow fall from the window? Winter is an optimal time to slow down and snuggle in. Doing so may not just make you feel happy; it might also help to keep you safe.
Call or conact Koetje Agency to make sure your auto insurance policies are up to date.
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