7 Safety Tips for Driving in Freezing Rain - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Dec 18, 2023

7 Safety Tips for Driving in Freezing Rain

Getting Ready to Drive in Winter Weather Means More Than Just Preparing for Snow

If you live in a cold climate, then you know the stressful and - at times - heart pounding experience that comes with driving in winter weather conditions. While the thought of driving during the colder months may conjure the mental image of driving through several feet of snow, an equally hazardous condition arises when freezing rain starts falling.


What is freezing rain?

Freezing rain occurs when rain freezes on contact with a cold surface, forming a layer of ice. Sleet is similar but is actually a precipitation of raindrops that are frozen before they hit the ground.


Is it dangerous to drive in freezing rain?

When freezing rain hits the ground, it forms an icy layer on the road. This creates slippery driving conditions that make your vehicle prone to sliding and skidding. Unlike snow, which is highly visible to the eye, freezing rain can be undetectable and dangerous. Because these conditions are less visible, they can actually be more dangerous to drive in than more visible conditions such as snow.


Safety tips for driving in freezing rain:


1. Stay home if you can

The best solution for dealing with any dangerous driving condition is opting to stay home and avoid driving, if possible. Check the weather forecast and determine if your schedule allows you to wait out the storm.


2. Take your time

If you do have to drive, drive slowly. Freezing rain creates a slippery layer of ice on the road which can be especially dangerous when braking, causing your car to skid. Drive slowly to avoid braking.


3. Leave space

Because braking is difficult when driving in freezing rain, be sure to give the vehicle in front of you plenty of extra space.


4. Give yourself extra time

Because you’ll be driving slowly, take the stress out of your trip by giving yourself extra time to get to your destination. On a similar note, respect sand and salt trucks and try not to get frustrated if you end up behind them on the road. They’re helping to make the road safer and driving behind them can actually make your journey less treacherous.


5. Use your windshield wipers and fluid

Freezing rain has a tendency of building up on your windshield, decreasing visibility in what is already a hazardous driving situation. Keep freezing rain from forming on your windshield by making use of your wipers and fluid.


6. Equip your car with winter tires

Designed with deeper treads, winter tires are specifically designed to make driving in snow and ice easier! If you live in a region that experiences regular snow and ice, you may find that snow tires are well worth the investment.


7. Keep a safety kit handy

When prepping your vehicle for winter, it’s important to remember to restock your winter safety kit. Some items you may want to consider having on hand include: a snow brush, a small shovel, gloves, a hat and hand warmers.


Follow these safety tips to combat freezing rain and make your winter travels as stress-free as possible. To learn more about protecting yourself and your vehicle in all driving situations, click on the button below!