The winter season is upon us which can impact our day-to-day lives in many ways, especially when you are driving on the roadways. Not only may you be traveling more in the dark, but you also may be faced with snowy and icy conditions, both on the roadway and on your vehicle. Winter weather certainly presents its share of challenges; however, there are some winter driving tips to keep you safe on the roadways.
Below Are Some Basic Do’s and Don’ts to Driving Safely This Winter:
Don’t Let out Tire Pressure- You may have heard to let some of the air pressure out of your tires when traveling on icy or snowy roadways, but this isn’t true. Doing this won’t provide better traction. Dropping temperatures can cause the tire pressure to go down on its own so make sure to keep your tires inflated to the required PSI.
Develop Good Driving Habits- Your car may be equipped with winter/snow tires, four-wheel drive, and anti-lock brakes, but if you aren’t exercising safe driving habits, you are still at risk for having an accident. Having this type of auto technology doesn’t mean you don’t have to exercise caution when driving in treacherous weather.
Don’t Let Your Car Idle to Warm Up- You may have heard to let your car warm up before driving; however, this is not necessary. In fact, it can create more harm by letting your auto sit there and idle. Because your car’s engine is fully lubricated after less than a minute of idling, the best thing to do is get behind the wheel and just drive.
Watch Out for Black Ice- While black ice isn’t always visible, you should anticipate it being on the roadways if the temperatures are below freezing and there has been precipitation. Exercise caution during the freezing temps and if you do hit a patch of black ice, never slam on brakes. Instead apply gentle pressure to the brakes and turn your steering wheel into the direction of your skid until control has been regained.
Consider Winter Tires- Winter tires are designed differently than traditional tires. Equipped with a different tread that has features that make it more pliable when traveling during freezing temperatures, these tires make it safer to drive when weather conditions drop below 45 degrees and on icy and snowy roadways.
Never Pour Warm/Hot Water on Your Windshield- Pouring hot water on your windshield may only leave you with a cracked one. Instead, consider using a deicing spray for the windshields or using a DIY solution of water and isopropyl alcohol. Another viable option is to turn on the front and rear defroster as you scrape the windshield.
Don’t Pump Your Brakes- If you are traveling in wintry conditions, it’s not necessary to pump your brakes, especially if you are driving a newer vehicle. Most vehicles today have ABS (Antilock Braking Systems) which allows you to regain traction on the roadways when hitting snow and ice. Automatically when your car detects the tires skidding or slipping, the ABS will activate so you won’t need to pump your brakes.
Invest in a Fully Stocked Emergency Kit- Preparing for any outing during wintry conditions is essential. If you do experience an accident, breakdown, or flat tire, it may take hours before you could get roadside assistance, especially if there is severe winter weather. Below are some essential items to have in your vehicle during the winter months, but not limited to:
- Cell phone and car charger
- First aid kit
- List of emergency numbers
- Tire pressure gauge/inflator
- Car manual
Stay Safe This Winter!
Colder temperatures along with snowy and icy conditions may happen this winter, so be prepared to follow the basic guidelines in order to minimize the likelihood of an accident. If you have any questions or concerns regarding driving safely this winter, call our offices at Burkett & Associates. We are here to assist you with all your Alabama auto insurance needs today!