Summer and winter bring their own unique set of challenges for drivers with each season’s change. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, over half a million car accidents happen each winter. Staying safe and alert while the snow is falling is essential for you, your family, and your friends. The last thing we want to spoil the holiday season is to have a car accident happen. Below are some general safety precautions that anyone can do to help lessen the impact of snow, ice, and sleet on our daily commutes.
Prepare for the challenges of the cold.
It can be helpful to keep a Tupperware or similar storage bin in your vehicle. This can include items like blankets, a flashlight, ice scrappers, medications, a first-aid kit, and even food or water. Having these items in your trunk can help prepare you if you get stranded while your car is stuck in the snow. Winter brings dangerously cold conditions and low light. This means that walking to the nearest gas station if your car breaks down is a far more massive task in the winter versus the summer months. Having these items ready to go can make all the difference while help is on the way.
Don’t drive unless necessary.
One of the best ways to avoid the spike in accidents that occurs when a snowstorm is happening is by not being on the roads when they happen. If you live in areas where a massive storm is expected, you can take proper precautions to prevent needing to go to the store for supplies. If you must leave the house, try to plan your trips so that you are avoiding the worst time of the storm or when the smallest number of cars will be on the road. You can also plan your trips to limit the number of stops you will need to make. Perhaps you can go to one or two stores for all your items instead of four or five.
Look at your vehicle to ensure that it is ready for the snow.
When the roads and highways are slippery from ice, your tires are the most critical items in your car. Make sure that your tires are free from bald spots and have plenty of treads left so that you can trust them on a stop or during a turn. If your vehicle does not have a four-wheel drive, you may even choose to use chains or snow tires to help with your traction and control. It is also a great idea to look at your windshield wipers to make sure they will properly clean your window of fog, water, and salt.
Remember, these are just a few simple ideas to help keep you and your family safe during winter travel. Check your local weather stations to see what challenges will face drivers so that you can plan accordingly.
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