Winter is a great time to travel around the country. Whether you’re going somewhere new and exciting or visiting friends and family for a holiday tradition, you may encounter some unfamiliar weather during the winter. Here are five tips for driving safely in icy weather to avoid catastrophe when traveling.
1. Leaving Space Between Vehicles
It’s almost always a good idea to leave at least one vehicle’s worth of space between you and the car in front of you. When driving in snowy or icy conditions, it’s wise to leave a slightly larger gap between vehicles whenever possible. It takes longer to slow down when the roads are slippery, and you don’t want to put as much pressure on the brakes. Otherwise, you risk spinning out. So for the safety of you and any vehicles in front of you, try to keep a safe distance.
2. Understanding Road Conditions
If you aren’t familiar with driving on icy roads, you may not be aware of how location and road types change in the colder seasons. For example, because of the cold air coming up from beneath them, bridges freeze before roads, so drivers should take extra precautions when driving over them.
3. Prepare Your Vehicle
If you think or know you’re going to drive on icy roads, it helps to take some precautions and prepare your vehicle for the winter. We recommend bringing some helpful gear like an ice scraper and winter chains. If your car gets stuck on the side of the road, having kitty litter or rock salt is beneficial for giving your car some traction. Before it gets too cold, you may want to make sure your engine has anti-freeze in it and anti-gel additives if your vehicle has a diesel engine.
4. Changes in Acceleration
One helpful tip for driving safely in icy weather is to keep your vehicle’s acceleration in mind. When going through towns, you may come across more stop signs and lights. Your car will accelerate differently in snowier conditions, so remember to put less pressure on the gas and allow yourself to build up speed a bit slower than you normally would.
5. Check the Weather
Whenever the conditions might be icy, it’s always a good idea to check the weather. If there were recent temperature drops, the roads might be slicker than they’d otherwise be. Seeing if the weather forecast predicts snow or hail may help you remain safe and vigilant on the road. If weather conditions seem too rough, you may want to postpone potential travel plans.