Driving Safely: No one wants to be involved in a car accident, but the emergence of winter means that practicing our usual driving habits simply isn’t enough – even minor errors can add up to very dangerous collisions. Read on to find out more about why driving in winter is more dangerous and what you can do to prepare for the worst of the weather.
Why Is Winter More Dangerous for Drivers?
There are several reasons why driving in the winter is more dangerous than at any other time of year. The first of these is obvious, and that is the amount of snow and ice that can be found on the roads. If a highway isn’t salted before snow sets, it will become incredibly slippery. The combination of snow and ice means stopping distances can be up to ten times longer, so you need to be fully aware of the road surface’s condition.
Another key factor is one that you won’t often consider as a problem, but it plays a significant part in winter driving. Typically, driving on a hot summer road will help your car to heat up, and a hot car is a happy car. Everything is running in its operating window, and the tires have a good level of grip. In the freezing cold, you lose these advantages. Tires stick to the road less effectively, and your car might struggle to reach an optimal operating temperature.
What Can You Do to Be Safer on the Roads?
Whilst these threats can be scary, you can counter them with a few simple steps. Below are some of the most important tips for driving safely in the winter:
Prepare Your Car in Advance
The last thing you want to experience in winter weather is a breakdown, as the treacherous nature of winter roads increases the risk of other cars sliding into you. You can help to avoid this by giving your car ten minutes to heat up and get up to a good operating temperature before you set off, which also gives you the opportunity to clear your windshield of any snow or ice. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail, and the margins between safety and an accident are narrow in winter weather.
Take Extra Time
When you drive in the winter, it’s always advised to give yourself some leeway with your driving time. By giving yourself another ten or fifteen minutes, you can take your time with every decision, and avoid rushing into making mistakes because you’re late for a meeting.
On an icy road, failing to pay attention for a moment can lead to a serious incident. Whether this is checking your GPS to ensure that you’re going the right way or simply glancing at your phone in a quiet moment, you should never take your eyes off an icy road. You never know when you could hit black ice and need to be able to respond quickly.