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Tips for Driving Safely During Winter Weather

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Tips for Driving Safely During Winter Weather

Levi Quinn
September 29, 2011

Winter is probably the most hazardous season for driving, with snow, ice and frigid temperatures all wreaking havoc on our cars and roads. It may be that you're an old hand at driving in inclement weather, but even so it never hurts to brush up on the basics.

Winter brings various unexpected environmental conditions. Snow could have just started in the morning but it would surprise you to find your walk way covered entirely in ice. While at other times, it barely covers the trees in your front yard. You can never be assured of how weather conditions turn out. So, when traveling, if it can be avoided, it is most advisable to not drive at all. But if the need arises, follow these precautionary measures to avoid possible accidents when driving during winter.

1. Before you leave your house or from where you were parked, guarantee that your lights are not covered with snow and your wind shield is cleared with those ice shavings. It would be difficult to find your wipers not working while you're all ready in the middle of the road.

2. Drive slowly. It's not a car chase. Nor is someone inviting you to compete in one.

3. When driving with heavy to moderate traffic, always remember to keep a distance from the car in front of you. This enables you to stop slowly instead of breaking to a screeching halt. Thus, you can avoid any possible collisions caused by skidding.

4. When you need to stop or slow down, break gently. Roads are very slippery during winter and breaking moderately avoids your tires from sliding.

5. Make sure that your lights are turned on. This allows motorists who are approaching and behind you to see your vehicle more clearly.

6. Avoid meeting sanding trucks and snow plows. Drivers of those vehicles have very limited view of what's in front of them. You might get crushed or plowed in the process.

7. When passing bridges or overpasses, make sure you're in the lower gear in order to support sliding from icy or wet areas.

8. When passing less traveled roads, also take extra caution. These parts freeze first and will possibly have ice built up by the time you do pass by.

Winter is a risky time to travel, most especially on the road. There could be unforeseen factors that would contribute to danger while driving. Never assume that just because you own a utility vehicle, that you won't have problems driving in the snow. It is the most important practice to be careful when driving under winter conditions. Always be a responsible driver when you're out on the road. Remember, it is not only your life you are putting at risk, it can be your passenger, an innocent bystander or the passengers of another vehicle.

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