We know New Englanders are seasoned professionals when it comes to winter driving, but it never hurts to brush up on your winter driving skills — especially with all of the crazy weather we’ve already seen this winter. With that in mind, here are our tips on safety precautions to follow when snow, ice, and cold temperatures make the roads anything but a winter wonderland.
1. Inspect and service your car.
Routine maintenance becomes even more important in cold winter months. Make sure your fluids are topped off and get your oil changed. Cold temperatures can also cause tires to lose pressure more easily, so be sure to check your tire pressure regularly. It’s also a good idea to have your brakes inspected and battery life analyzed. Taking these preventive steps can help reduce the chance of a breakdown in winter weather.
2. Increase travel distance.
In good weather, it is recommended to stay at least three seconds behind the car in front of you. In ice and snow, you should significantly increase following distance. Winter weather driving conditions can affect brake time, so make sure to allow enough time and space to be able to brake safely without sliding or skidding into traffic.
3. Stay alert and pay attention.
While you should always have your full attention on the road ahead while driving, this becomes even more crucial when driving in snowy or icy conditions. Get a full night’s sleep before hitting the road and avoid distractions by putting your phone away or on silent mode. Keep your attention on the road at all times to anticipate potential dangers that may require slowing or stopping.
4. Keep emergency supplies in your car.
If winter driving conditions cause your car to skid off the road, having emergency supplies on hand can help keep a bad situation from getting worse. You should always have a flashlight, jumper cables, shovel, snow brush or ice scraper in your car. Sand or kitty litter can also come in handy, in a situation where your tires need more traction. For longer trips, don’t forget necessary medications, blankets, and a cell phone charger.
5. Stay with your vehicle.
If you are in an accident or have a breakdown, stay inside the vehicle while awaiting help. Waiting outside in the cold can lead to serious health risks like hypothermia or frostbite. If you run your vehicle’s engine, it’s important to take precautions to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Clear your exhaust pipe of any snow and crack your windows.
Winter has just begun and if the Bomb Cyclone was any indication of what we can expect this winter — it’s going to be a long one! Here at Gilbert Insurance, we know the snow doesn’t stop you from going about your daily lives, but it does make things a little harder. Take the necessary precautions to prepare for safe winter driving and prevent accidents. For any insurance questions, feel free to reach out to a member of the Gilbert Insurance team — we would be happy to help. And for more information about safe winter weather practices be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Gilbert Insurance Agency has been providing insurance coverage you can trust since 1951.