With winter right around the corner, there’s no better time to brush up on your driving skills. After all, more than 17% of vehicle crashes occur in winter conditions, in part, because of the inclement weather that the seasons brings.
As New York experiences some of the first snow squalls of the season, winter driving tips are more essential than ever. Here are the top five tips that you should consider when you’re thinking about hitting the road.
1. Slow down
Even the most confident drivers get into accidents because of icy roads. Slowing down and braking earlier will help your tires gain more traction while you come to a stop. If you happen to skid, this also gives you enough time to change your course to prevent hitting another car. That being said, leave enough space between you and the car in front of you to prevent accidentally rear-ending someone else.
2. Be prepared to get into an accident
Try as we might, accidents happen. Even the most careful of drivers might get rear-ended by another car. Do you have a plan?
First, you want to make sure that you always drive with your phone in the winter. Of course, you should avoid using it while you drive, but this is essential for calling your insurance company, the police, and an ambulance if you need it.
You should also always drive with your license, registration, and insurance information handy. This will help you stay safe, especially if you’re knocked unconscious after an accident.
You might also want to consider looking up physical therapy options, especially if you’re already suffering from a chronic condition. A single accident could worsen your health in unexpected ways. Studies have shown that relying on physical therapy when you suffer from back or neck pain within two weeks of the accident can reduce your need for pain medication.
You’ll also want to save the number for your local mechanic and loan provider. Repairing your car can take a lot of money, but relying on a hard money lender can help you get back on the road sooner than later.
3. Invest in a set of winter tires
Did you know that the air pressure changes in winter can impact your tires’ air pressure? It’s important to refill the air in your tires regularly as a result. On top of that, however, you should invest in a set of winter tires. These malleable tires have deeper traction to keep you safer on the road. Since they’re more flexible, they also offer a better grip on the road than your average pair of tires. This is especially essential if you drive a lot for work.
4. Drive sober or get pulled over
Winter weather also brings along festive holidays where ample drinking occurs. If you’re thinking about driving while drunk, hide your keys to prevent this urge. Drunk driving causes countless accidents from which many don’t recover. Even if you’re able to get a bail bond to get out of the clinker, you’ll still face court dates, higher insurance rates, and other issues. Don’t drive drunk. Instead, rely on your family, friends, and ride-sharing services to get to your destination safely. You can always pick up your car later.
5. Keep a cold-weather kit in your car
Even if you follow all the rules and stay safe on the road, there’s always a possibility that your car doesn’t start. Cold weather can put undue stress on your car’s battery. If you’re stuck somewhere without the ability to get somewhere warm, an extra layer of clothing, a heavy blanket, and a flashlight can help you make it through the night.
Your cold-weather kit should also include ice scrapers, kitty litter for gaining traction on ice, and some non-perishable food.
New York winters are known for their blustery lake effect snow, icy roads, and gusty winds. Are you prepared for the coming winter weather? Rely on these tips to stay safer and healthier this year.