Tips offered to stay safe on winter roads

By on January 30, 2002

The winter is officially here and the roads have become more icy and slippery. It is time to take a few extra minutes and think about your own driving. If you live off campus and have to drive every day, or if you just use your car to get away for the weekend, this article will contain some useful tips for winter driving, and some information about things you need to think about before you get out on those roads.
First of all, when you are driving in snowy and icy conditions, you need to be more careful than if you are driving on regular roads. Keep in mind that bridges and ramps freeze before road surfaces, and that you need plenty of room to stop your vehicle on snowy and icy roads. Therefore, you should always leave plenty of room between your vehicle and the one ahead of you. Also keep in mind that before the roads are cleared, the most slippery spots are right before a stop sign and right before and after a traffic light.
It is important to familiarize yourself with your breaks. If you have regular breaks you need to make sure your breaks are not locking by a “push-let go- push” routine, while you have to continue to push your breaks if you have the ABS kind.
Before you leave home you should warm up your car so that the defroster has a chance to clear the windows. While you are waiting for your car to get warm, clean your vehicle from ice and snow, including the roof, so that you will improve your visibility while driving.
If you are going for a longer drive, there are several things you need to consider. First of all, are you wearing clothing that is warm enough for winter conditions? You should have a spare blanket and spare gloves in your car in case you get stuck somewhere and have to stay in your car.
You should also have a scraper and a snow brush, and if you are to drive on snow covered roads, a shovel might be a good idea.
Except for these things, you need to consider weather or not your car is ready for winter. What kind of tires do you have? Are they good enough for snow driving? Is the recommended amount of antifreeze in the radiator? Is the windshield washer reservoir full? Does your heater and defogger work to clear icy and foggy windows?
Aggressive driving should be avoided, especially in snow and icy situations, since the amount of time you need to stop the car is much larger than on dry road surfaces.
To avoid driving aggressively you should allow enough driving time to reach your destination, avoid driving when angry or overly tired, and avoid situations that raise your anxiety. The most important thing to consider is that you stay calm and relaxed when confronted by an aggressive driver. Make every attempt to get out of the way safely, and do not challenge an aggressive driver.
Some of the don’ts up should watch out for are driving in the left laneblocking other vehicles if you are not passing another car, flashing your headlights when you want the car in front of you to move to the right, and approach intersections and pedestrians at a speed that requires you to break hard when you get close.
Some other things that are consideredunsafe driving by the Department of Motor Vehicles are to inflict loud music on neighboring cars, to smoke, use a mobile phone, read shave or apply make up while driving, and neglect to stop completely at a stop sign or when turning right on red.
Remember, that safety and carefullness is extra important during wet, snowy and icy conditions, since anything that takes your mind off the road is getting you closer to the possibility of an accident.
If the snow is really bad and you know that the roads are not clear yet, take a few minutes to consider whether or not you really need to go out. It might be a better idea to wait until the snow on the roads have had a chance to melt, and people are returning to normal driving rituals.


About Viktoria Sundqvist- Lifestyles