It’s that time of year again when folks find both their daily commutes and their annual treks to their relative’s houses complicated by all manner of winter weather – like sleet, snow and ice on the roads.
Hibernating until spring isn’t really an option, but you can take a few extra safety precautions that can help you avoid any major car accidents. Here are five of the most important:
Eliminate common distractions.
It’s tempting to keep one hand around a hot cup of coffee or cocoa while you’re driving in winter weather, but that cup in your hand is both a physical and mental distraction you don’t need. You want to eliminate anything that you find distracting so that you remain alert to roadway hazards and your reaction times stay high.
Give yourself extra time.
Nothing can cause a vehicle’s wheels to lose traction on ice or snow like driving too fast. In bad weather, your normal commute time goes out the window. Assume that every trip is going to take longer than you think it should, and build some extra time into your schedule so that you won’t be tempted to rush.
Keep your car in good condition.
Clear the snow all the way off your vehicle before you try to drive, so that blowback from your hood or a sheet of ice sliding down off the roof of the car doesn’t blind you while you’re in motion. You should also make sure that your lights are clean and your tires are properly inflated and have a decent tread.
Pack an emergency kit.
There’s always a possibility that you could get stranded on the road at some point by an ice storm or sudden snow. Blankets, potable water, protein bars, flashlights and flares are all vital to your safety while you wait on rescue.
Despite your best efforts, you may still end up in a wreck this winter because another driver was neither properly prepared nor cautious. If that happens, find out what it takes to get fair compensation for your losses.