Winter Driving Safety - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Dec 3, 2019

Winter Driving Safety

One of the toughest parts about winter weather is travel. Winter driving conditions can be both scary and dangerous for drivers. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety winter weather conditions result in over 2,000 road deaths each year.

Because of this we recommend avoiding travel in winter weather conditions whenever possible.

If you must drive, there are several tips that you can follow to improve your winter weather driving game:

Avoid Using Cruise Control

Cruise control is a feature that should only be used on dry highways in the daytime. A person driving in snow and ice-covered roads should have the ability to slow down and account for lower traction.

Decrease Your Driving Speed

The ability to stop or slow your vehicle on slippery winter roads is significantly decreased. For this reason, you should drive significantly slower in the winter weather.

Brake Steadily

Slamming on your brakes in winter weather is something you want to avoid doing. When you know a stop is ahead break slowly and earlier than you normally would.

Be Confident in Your Vehicle

Prepare your vehicle by having it tuned up by a professional, swapping your vehicle’s fluids for winter grade fluids, swapping your tires for snow tires, and changing your wipers for winter wipers are all helpful steps to take. You should also make sure your vehicle’s battery is tested as power drops as the temperatures do.

Keep Your Gas Tank Full

Your vehicle’s gas lines are at risk of freezing in the wintertime. Keeping your vehicle’s gas tank at least half full is a great preventative measure to take.

Increase Your Following Distance

You should plan to double your following distance from 4 or 5 seconds to 8 or 10 seconds. This will allow you more time to stop if the vehicle in front of you stops or slides.

Avoid Stopping

You’ll be less likely to get stuck if your vehicle is in a slow moving, controlled roll.

Stay Consistent on Hills

It’s a good idea to “get a running start” when driving up a hill but when driving down you’ll want to drive slowly to help you maintain control.

Avoid Distractions at All Costs

Driving in general requires your full attention. Driving in the winter requires even more focus. There are several steps you can take to avoid distracted driving before even leaving your house. Pre-load your commute playlist, organize your car, and eat breakfast before you leave to keep your focus on the road.

Plan Your Route and Notify Someone

Check the weather before leaving to see what the conditions might be like on your commute. You should also put your driving route in writing and notify someone close to you of when you plan to arrive. Have your cellphone on and fully charged in case of emergency.

Keep Additional Warm Clothes in Your Vehicle.

During an emergency or accident, you might be exposed to freezing temperatures and high winds for an extended period of time. Having an extra set of warm clothing will be especially helpful in that type of scenario!

In the end, driving in the winter is about driving especially cautious. Even when roads look good and clear they might be covered in black ice. Being prepared and smart about your driving decisions can go a long way!