There’s no doubt about it – winter driving can be pretty stressful. And while most of us do our best to stay off the roads during a snowstorm, there are times when we have no choice but to venture out in less than ideal conditions. In order to make these times a little less anxious for everyone, we’ve put together a list of some of the things that you can do to help keep safe while driving on snowy, icy roads this winter.

Be smart about your four-wheel drive.

Yes, four-wheel drive is amazing. And yes, it can help you through some pretty slick road conditions. What it cannot do, however, is make your car immune to the dangers of icy roads. It will not provide you the needed traction to brake and stop.

Slow down and give other drivers their space.

It’s also important to adjust your speeds and the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you during inclement weather. Remember, speed limits are created for cars on dry pavement – not during a storm. It’s important to slow your rate of speed down on those days that you have to be out driving in the snow. Also keep in mind that for every 10 mph you’re traveling, you should be giving at least four car lengths between you and the driver in front of you.

Try not to stop if you can.

We know, that sounds like a traffic violation, but the truth is, that there is an incredible difference in the amount of inertia it takes to get your vehicle moving again from a complete stop versus what it takes to go from a slow roll. If you’re able to slow your car down enough at say, a red light or a stop sign, to just roll until the light turns green or it is safe to move forward into the intersection, you will be less likely to get stuck or slide. And also try not to slam on your brakes. Of course, it’s all of our instincts to do just that when our tires start to slip, but the reality is that slamming on the brakes removes traction and takes away your ability to control your car.

Prepare your vehicle inside and out.

Your tires and your defroster/defogger are some of your most important equipment when you’re out and about in a storm. Have both checked before the first snow flies. You may even want to invest in a set of snow tires if you live somewhere that gets a lot of snow. You also want to check your windshield washer fluid, your battery power and your antifreeze levels to make sure all are good for the season. It’s also a good thought to keep your gas tank at least half full throughout the winter. One last thing you should do is to keep an emergency kit inside your vehicle. Things to include would be a shovel, an ice scraper, flares, a flashlight and some kitty litter, sand or salt to help you gain some traction should you get stuck.

As we mentioned earlier, the best way to stay safe during a storm is to stay home and off the roads unless absolutely necessary. But if you’d like more tips on how to safely drive in the snow and ice this winter, please contact us!

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