Chilly mornings, snow-clad places, warm clothes, and hot cups of coffee can set winters apart from other times of the year. Many people wait for the holiday season to step out to connect with nature and enjoy the scenic environment. But if you’re driving during winter, you must be extra careful.
Ice, snow, and harsh winter conditions can adversely impact driving and vehicles. According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than 2000 road deaths happen yearly due to sloppy road conditions. It can become very tricky and difficult to drive in such road conditions, and drivers have to be cautious enough during winter.
While winter driving can be challenging, with the right preparation and mindset, it can also be safe and enjoyable. Here are some measures to help you drive safely and comfortably on the road during winter.
Check your Vehicle’s Condition
This is the most important thing you should do before hitting the road. Always check and ensure that tires are inflated enough, your brakes are in good working order, and your windshield wipers and defrosters are working properly. Also, check your battery, antifreeze levels, and headlights to ensure they are all in good condition.
Having said that, it is also critical to ensure that your vehicles are well-maintained, especially for fleet business owners. They can use fleet tracking software to set automated preventive maintenance schedules to duly carry out repairs and maintenance. The software will notify fleet managers when the next maintenance is due and help them plan daily operations accordingly. If you come across even a tiny squeal, put your vehicle under supervision as soon as possible, as you don’t want to risk driving a vehicle malfunctioning on icy roads.
Another tip is using dry gas to remove all the water vapour that typically freezes in the gas pipelines. Also, make sure that the car runs daily to avoid a dead battery–the most common complaint during winter.
Winter weather can make roads slippery, so reducing your speed and keeping a considerable distance between vehicles is essential. If anything unexpected takes place, you are at a distance, giving you time to respond to the situation. In winter weather, it’s important to use your brakes carefully to avoid skidding.
If you want to brake, avoid braking suddenly; instead, do it slightly and slowly. Also, accelerate gradually, as instant acceleration can make the vehicle skid, and you might lose control of it. Always drive at a comfortable speed obeying traffic regulations, irrespective of the weather condition.
It would be best if you were extra careful where there is black ice–a thin, transparent ice layer that can be difficult to see on the road. It’s most commonly found on bridges and overpasses, but it can also be found on other parts of the road. If you suspect the road is icy, slow down and be extra cautious.
Visibility can be pretty low on the road during winter–hence, use your headlights when driving. Along with checking vehicle condition, remove all the snow off your car, including lights and reflectors. If you don’t clean it, your headlights will not help you give proper visibility. Even during the day, it’s important to use your headlights in winter weather to make yourself more visible to other drivers.
Winter weather can make it difficult for other drivers to see the road, so it’s critical to be aware of other drivers and to anticipate what they might do.
Keep an emergency Kit in your Car
Until now, you have a fair idea that driving during winter can be risky and lead to unexpected situations. It’s a good idea to keep an emergency kit to help you deal with uncertainties that can knock on your door anytime. The kit should include blankets, a flashlight, a first aid kit, water, and non-perishable food. Also, don’t forget to carry your phone charger as sometimes you can get stranded for a long time in extreme weather conditions like storms.
A GPS tracker can help you know your location and suggest the shortest possible route to get out of the stranded area. With a fleet tracking system in vehicles, fleet managers can track drivers’ real-time location and send help to them as early as possible.
Plan your Day
It is always recommended to plan your day before you head off. The first thing to check is the day’s weather forecast, especially if it is a long journey. You should also check the weather condition of your destination location. Storms or landslides can block the route, causing you and your family trouble or delayed shipments.
Hence, keep an eye on the weather conditions and leave only when the conditions are better to drive.
Fleet owners can also communicate to clients that delays can happen in snowy conditions. Drivers can accelerate due to the pressure of reaching on time, leading to risky driving and incidents. So it’s a good idea to allow extra travel time if you run into unexpected road problems.
By following these tips, you’ll be better prepared to handle the challenges of winter driving. Remember to take it slow, be aware of your surroundings, and always use caution. With a bit of preparation and a lot of patience, you can make it through the winter months safely and without incidents.