Use these tips to stay safe during winter driving
The most common mistake drivers make when driving in slippery winter conditions is having an overconfidence in their driving ability or their vehicle’s ability to handle poor road conditions.
Some key tips to remember when driving this winter include:
- Slow down when driving in snow or ice.
- Give yourself extra time, and take it slow.
- Leave extra room between you and the vehicle in front of you.
- Fill your gas tank up regularly; keeping it always at least half-full.
- Keep your tires properly inflated.
- Top off your windshield washer fluid frequently.
- Turn your headlights on when your windshield wipers are running. Not only is it the law in Virginia, but it also helps other drivers see you in poor conditions.
- Beware of black ice—even with above-freezing temperatures, ice can form in shady spots and on bridges.
- Avoid stopping suddenly or changing directions quickly.
- Brake gently to avoid skidding. If you do skid, take your foot off the accelerator, and steer your car into the skid. If you have standard brakes, pump them gently. Apply steady pressure to anti-lock brakes.
- Don’t spin your wheels if you get stuck; that only digs you in deeper.
It’s always a good idea to give your car a seasonal tune-up before bad weather strikes.
Stock your car with a basic winter survival kit, including a flashlight, batteries, blanket, snacks, water, gloves, boots and first aid kit. You also should have winter travel gear on hand, including an ice scraper/snow brush, jumper cables and road flares.
It’s also a good idea to review your auto insurance policy to make sure you are covered in any situation.