Have you had it up to your eyes with this winter weather yet? At Axleboy Automotive, we have too. We are tired of icy roads and snow-topped cars. Thankfully, Spring is just around the corner and before you know it, we’ll be turning up the AC.
Until then, here are 8 tips for safer driving in winter-weather conditions:
Tip # 1: Put down your cell phone.
It is estimated that at least 23% of annual car accidents in the US involve some form of cell phone use. 23% may not sound like much, but that represents about 1.3 million crashes. People have a hard enough time driving in a straight line when the skies are blue and the roads are dry. Using the phone while driving in addition to snow and ice conditions significantly increases the risk of causing a car accident. If you ABSOLUTELY MUST talk on the phone while driving, then use a Bluetooth device so that both hands can be on the steering wheel. Otherwise, wait until the car is safely parked to send texts and make calls.
Tip # 2: Increase your distance.
Snow and ice can be unpredictable factors when driving on the highways and local roads. Give yourself plenty of room to maneuver and some extra cushion space for stopping. Remember, with reduced traction, your car needs more space to make even simple changes.
Tip # 3: Limit your distractions.
In 2011, 10% of fatal car accidents were reported to involve some form of driver distraction. Driving with snow and ice on the road requires significantly more attention than normal driving. In addition to following tip #1, we suggest either turning down or turning off the radio, avoid getting caught up with rubber-necking and make sure that children and/or pets are all properly secured before the vehicle is put in gear.
Tip # 4: Slow down.
We’ve all heard this a thousand times, but it doesn’t make it any less important. We aren’t suggesting that people do 25 mph on the highway, but the posted speed limits are a recommended maximum speed in ideal conditions. The old Driver’s-Ed classes teach: “Slow-down 10 mph for every adverse element on the road.” Adverse conditions affect your overall reaction time and maneuverability, so even if you are in a 4×4, slow down.
Tip # 5: Don’t use the brakes while turning.
Most cars that end up in the ditch or go off the road will do so on a curve. In a small number of cases there is nothing that the driver could do to prevent the accident. In almost all other cases, the accident is a result of driver error. In winter weather we have a tendency to use our brakes at unnecessary times. Curves and corners are ironically one of the worst places to use the brakes for two reasons: 1. Using the brakes on a turn reduces what little traction tires may have & 2. Pressing the brakes reduces a driver’s ability to appropriately accelerate out of a turn.
Tip # 6: Clear off your windshield.
Have you ever woken up late and had to rush out the door just to make it to work on time? It’s easy to rush through our routines, jump in the car and hit the road, right? It’s not so easy when you see a sheet of ice on your windshield. Even though you may be in a hurry, the best thing you can do in a situation like this is clear the windshield. Using the defroster is a good start, but any ice that remains on the windshield when you start driving creates a visual impairment, especially when driving into the sun.
Tip # 7: Watch out for idiots.
There are plenty of them out there…and they seem to multiply when bad weather hits. Unfortunately, these drivers are not only a danger to themselves, but to you as well. Our advice is to recognize these types of drivers and do your best to position your vehicle safely out of their way.
Tip # 8: Stay home.
If you don’t absolutely have to go out when there is snow or ice on the roads, then stay home. Before venturing out, determine if your destination is worth the risk of personal injury or damage to your car.
Statistics from: http://www.edgarsnyder.com/car-accident/cell-phone/cell-phone-statistics.html#2011-cell-phone-statistics