Snow, ice, and grimy sludge all make driving in the winter a complete and utter mess. Now I know what you’re thinking, “What is a winter driving guide doing on SideOfKail?” Well let me tell you a little story…
Exactly 5 years ago today I was driving home, from the car mechanic, when I flipped and rolled my car into a kind old lady’s front yard. I was only going 25 miles per hour, mind you! That is when I swiftly learned about the dangers of black ice and how NOT to handle fishtailing. What happened you may ask? I went to switch lanes and hit black ice, which sent me into a fishtail (that I incorrectly tried to correct), and I was shot up and over a 4-foot tall snow bank. Next thing I knew I was upside down and there were people banging on my car window yelling for me to get out.
Ever since that day I’ve been a cautious and careful winter driver – while still managing to get where I need to go on time and in one piece. So. since tis’ the season for giving – I give to you my Winter Driving Guide.
- WEAR A SEAT BELT AT ALL TIMES.
- Keep gloves, a hat, and an ice scraper in your car at all times. You just never know when you’ll end up in the ditch freezing your butt off! Traveling in extra crumby weather? Also pack blankets, bottled water, a flashlight, matches, snacks, needed medications, and something reflective. (They have kits for this kind of thing. You could save yourself some hassle and just grab one of those.)
- Slow down earlier than needed. There’s no need to come in guns blazing to every stoplight, stop sign, and turn.
- Keep your gas tank at least half full. Especially when temperatures drop extremely low.
- Check the DOT’s road report before heading out so you know what you’re getting into.
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly.
- Stay 8-10 seconds away from the car in front of you. Nothing sucks the life out of your day (and possibly you) like ramming into the car ahead of you.
- Brake properly. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
- Keep your maintenance up-to-date. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and have good tread, keep your oil changed, and have your brakes checked.
The Do Not’s:
- Text or talk on the phone. Those messages can wait, and unless you’re using Bluetooth – so can those phone calls. PSA: Even Bluetooth calling has been shown to be dangerous, so do your best to avoid your phone altogether. Tip: If you absolutely have to get ahold of someone, have one of your passengers do the texting/talking.
- Warm-up a vehicle in an enclosed area such as a garage. The carbon monoxide gas will infiltrate the area and can poison you/others.
- Drink and drive. This is a given. You should never do this, but take extra caution on crappy roads.
- Use cruise control on slippery or wet surfaced. Rain, sleet, ice, or fresh snow.
- Drive if you don’t have to. If possible – stay home, kick your feet up, and sip on some pipin’ hot cocoa.
Happy driving! And stay safe.