* This post was sponsored by cars.com
Whether we like it or not, winter will soon be here. For many of us, that means driving with snow and ice on the roads, which can be a bit of a white knuckle experience without the proper precautions and safe driving habits.
To help you get through the winter safely, we’ve put together these 10 tips for safe winter driving.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
It’s a good idea to take your car in for a maintenance check before winter arrives. Get your fluids topped up, tires and brakes checked, and ensure everything is in working order to reduce the chances of you breaking down in the middle of a snowstorm.
Install winter tires
Winter tires improve your car’s traction, handling and braking in snowy or icy road conditions. Some studies have shown they can reduce braking distance by up to 25% in winter driving conditions over regular or all-season tires.
Check the weather forecast before heading out
Knowing what weather conditions to expect can help you be prepared for adverse conditions and slow traffic. It will allow you to allow extra time, plan a different route or change your plans accordingly, if necessary.
Always clear snow and ice off your vehicle before driving
Not only does driving with snow or ice on your car potentially reduce your ability to see other cars and potential hazards, it can pose a serious threat to other drivers as well. I was once in a car on the highway when a sheet of ice flew off the truck in front of us and smashed our front windshield. Not fun. Do yourself and other drivers a favour and take the extra time to clear off your car before you get on the road.
Don’t follow other cars too closely
Stopping takes much longer on snowy and icy roads, so be sure to leave lots of room between your car and the one in front of you to reduce the likelihood of a fender bender.
Leave yourself extra travel time
When roads are snowy or icy, you should reduce your speed when turning and allow yourself more distance for braking. You’re more likely to encounter accidents or slow traffic during adverse conditions, so always leave yourself plenty of extra time to reach your destination in the winter.
While you should always pay attention to the road, this is more important than ever during winter driving, when road conditions can change by the minute, and other cars may slide towards you or spin out in front of you. Eliminate all possible distractions while driving, such as eating, texting and anything else that reduces your focus on the task at hand.
Keep your gas tank full
A full gas tank adds extra weight to your vehicle, giving you better traction. It also reduces the likelihood of you getting stranded in the cold.
Stock your car with emergency supplies
Be prepared for emergencies by keeping a car safety kit in your car at all times during the winter. Here are some things to include:
- warm blanket
- extra hats and gloves
- first aid kit
- booster cables
- water and snacks
- candle and matches
- sand, salt or non-clumping kitty litter
- windshield washer fluid
Ensure your cell phone is fully charged
If your car breaks down or you are involved in an accident, you need to be able to call for help. Make sure your cell phone is charged at all times when driving.
By following these tips, you can help ensure you and your family reach your destination safely this winter, no matter the conditions.
For more tips on safe winter driving, visit cars.com for helpful articles and reviews such as:
About Kathy Sima
Kathy is a blogger and freelance writer and mom of two teens who gave up her career as a financial advisor when her son was diagnosed with autism at age 3. When it comes to parenting, Kathy truly believes there is strength in numbers and knows that sharing stories and strategies with other parents has helped keep her sane (so far!)