Aaron Widmar
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5 Important Techniques for Safe Winter Driving

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Snow side-view mirror winter weather visibility car driving tips
Photo: The News Wheel

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, which means a blanket of snow on your car and a sheet of ice on the road. Winter brings dangerous weather conditions, so it’s crucial that you adjust your driving and maintenance habits accordingly. Make sure you keep these tips for safe winter driving in mind to ensure a safe holiday season for everyone.

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Keep the tires properly inflated

In the bleak midwinter, the temperature can drop steeply. That causes the air in your car’s tires to contract and the rubber donut to deflate, which can lead to excess wear or even a blowout. Keep an eye on each tire’s level and top them off with some extra air if needed.

Slow your speed

Unlike Rudolph, you shouldn’t hurry down the freeway. Instead of running fast, reduce your typical driving speed by about 20 percent. That way, you’ll have a better chance of maintaining control if you hit an icy patch or must brake suddenly to avoid running over Grandma.

Increase following distance

You should give extra space between you and the car ahead of you in case sudden braking comes upon a midnight clear. In summer conditions, the suggested following gap is 3-4 seconds’ distance. This distance should be more than doubled during the winter to 8-10 seconds since slick roads require longer stopping distances.

Accelerate and decelerate slowly

When the weather outside is frightful, so are road conditions! Snow and ice affect your vehicle’s traction on the road, so don’t spin the wheels too quickly or stop them too suddenly. Applying the gas or brake at a slower rate than normal will optimize traction and reduce the chance of the car spinning out.

Always carry an emergency kit

As much as your baby is begging you to come home, sometimes you’re stranded on the side of the road in a snowdrift. To prepare for those situations, always carry an emergency kit that includes blankets, a phone charger, nonperishable food, flares, and these other essential items.

Be extra cautious this winter while you’re driving — especially if it’s a white Christmas.

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