Are you afraid of having a road accident as the winter approaches? Driving always involves risk, but this is especially true during the winter. The season brings along new dangers in addition to the common ones. But you can avoid them by taking simple steps like driving slower or paying attention to traffic cones.
If you want to know more about driving in winter, its dangers, and mistakes to avoid, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to find out everything you need to know for a safe drive.
Common Road Dangers in Winter
- Lack of Visibility: Winter brings natural situations that make it impossible to see, such as precipitations, snow, or blizzards. In addition, winter conditions can fog up or dirty parts of your vehicle, causing a decrease in vision. It is crucial to maintain an efficient view of driving at night so that others can see your actions on the road. Be mindful of others and your own safety.
- Black Ice: This type of ice is transparent and undetectable but still one of the most deadly winter hazards. It’s commonly on bridges and below overpasses, so drive carefully around these areas.
- Slippery roads: Due to snow or ice (especially black ice), the road might be more slippery than usual, leading drivers to collide with other cars and sometimes resulting in fatal injuries.
5 Mistakes to Avoid
1) Braking And Accelerating Too Quickly
We discussed how winter brings precipitations, snow, and blizzards. They make the road more dangerous, so go easy on the pedals during this season. Pump your brakes if you know the surface is slippery, as preventing the tires from locking allows you to have control of the vehicle.
If you still find yourself in a situation where you must accelerate, take it easy. Drive slowly and gently, giving yourself enough time to react if you skid over ice or something goes wrong.
2) Not Using Winter Tires or Chains
There are different types of tires, although most of us use all-season tires. You can choose between:
All-season tires do their bit during winter, but they’re not the best. Since they need to be effective in every road condition, the tires compromise on some aspects. Winter tires, on the contrary, are specifically designed for extreme and cold conditions. They provide traction even on ice, which is one of the primary accident reasons.
If you frequently drive in wintery, extreme conditions, your driving experience will be much smoother and safer. Most states allow all-season tires during winter, but others require chains. Snow chains always go on the driven wheels, and you should carry them in your vehicle trunk just in case. Note, though, that chains are not for driving at highway speeds.
3) Not Being Visible
Visibility (or lack of it) plays a major role in accidents. We mentioned above that visibility decreases during winter. Road workers have a higher chance of being struck by vehicles or mobile equipment. Therefore, it’s vital to set up work zones with the traffic controls like traffic cones, barrels, and signs to protect workers.
If you are a worker, make sure you and the work zone are visible to the drivers. If you, on the contrary, are behind the wheel, pay attention to safety cones and signs – they may save more than one life.
4) Excessive Clothing
The winter is a cold season, and it’s only natural for you to bundle up in a cozy coat, gloves, and heavy boots. But the truth is that you’re better off without them behind the wheel.
Heavy boots might be a liability for the brakes and gas pedals, difficulty your foot to move on and off. Hats limit your visibility, and a bulky coat will limit your shoulder and arm mobility, not to mention you’ll find it much more difficult to grip the steering wheel and operate it with thick gloves.
A combination of these factors may lead to a fatal accident in the event of an unexpected situation in which you should have reacted quicker.
If you tend to get cold easily, use the vehicle heater and warmers to keep a nice temperature inside the car. You don’t want to compromise your safety, but you don’t want to freeze either!
5) Not Having an Emergency Kit
If you’re going to drive in winter, especially if it’s a long trip, you should carry an emergency kit – both for the passengers and the vehicle. It should include items that help you gain visibility, keep warm, ask for help, and wait for hours.
These are some of the things you should bring in your emergency kit:
- A first-aid kit
- Warm blankets
- Snacks and water
- A shovel
- Traffic cones, triangles, or emergency flares
- Emergency cash
- Spare tires or chains
If you follow these tips, you’re likely to stay safe on the road, even during the worst conditions. Bring an emergency kit with you, and always remember to drive slow and keep your distance from other vehicles, as it may save your life and others.