I am very happy this is a mild winter here in Ohio. We have only had a couple small bouts of snow and we are nearing the end of January. That's pretty unusual for around here. I don't like being cold. I don't like wet boots coming in the house. I don't like wet dog feet from trips out in the snow. I REALLY don't don't like DRIVING in the bad weather conditions, like when there is snow on the ground.
To make me feel more at ease when I am beind the wheel during snowy conditions, I follow some simple tips to make my driving more safe. Here are some I would like to share with you:
First of all, do I really have to even have to go out? I ask myself that when I look out and see snow or know snow is coming. Most of the time things can be post poned. Errands, shopping etc can wait. Appointments can be rescheduled. Most often roads will be cleared and good for driving within hours if the snow has stopped. Readjusting my plans by a few hours is certainly worth a safer, more relaxing ride.
Next, make sure you are driving around on good tires. It really makes all the difference to have tires with good tread while facing snow and icy conditions. Slipping and sliding is not a good feeling while driving. It can often be totally avoided by keeping your tires in good repair.
Also, make sure your windshield washer fluid is plenty full. Driving without a clear view of the road and other things around you is dangerous at all times, even more so when conditions are bad. As you drive on wet, snowy salty roads your windshield will become dirty quickly, sometimes every few seconds. A good supply of windshield washer fluid will run out fast. Make sure you check it often.
Don't let your gas tank run on low. You want to make sure that if you were to go off the road you have enough gas to run the heater at least on occasion while you wait for help. Also, if weather conditions get bad while you are out, it will take you longer to get to a destination and possibly reduce your gas mileage too. Driving with a tank on empty could leave you stranded if you run out.
Drive at ta speed YOU feel comfortable and safe at. Don't worry about those few vehicles that fly up on you and feel the need to pass. Don't be pressured by tailgaters to pick up your pace. If the roads are slick and you feel well under control driving 40 in a 55 zone...do it.
Think twice about passing slower vehicles. Perhaps they are right to pick driving at a slow speed in view of the conditions. Even if they are being too over cautious and driving way slower than necessary, to pass you will have to accelerate quickly. This could cause loss of control especially if you end up doing so at an area that is a bit more icy or snow packed. Passing usually only saves you seconds anyways. Notice how often cars will zip past you and end up stopped one car length ahead of you at the same traffic light!
Make sure you have emergency supplies with you at all times. Warm blankets for everyone normally with you in your vehicle. If you are not going to wear boots and hat and gloves when you go out, pack them in the car in case the need for them arises. Also, have an extra pair of socks and gloves int eh car in case you get wet trying to free yourself from a jam. You can switch out socks and be much warmer. A few snacks for the kids are also a good idea. It will help them pass time while waiting for a rescue and will save you from hearing a lot of whining "I'm hungryyyyy" at a time when your nerves will be shot already. Make you keep your cell phone...well charged...with you too. I know to most people these days that seems silly to even have to say...most people would grab their cell phones before pants when leaving the house these days...but for me my phone is not important and I do often forget it!
Let someone know when you are going out and where you are going too. If you live in a rural area, like us, there is often gaps in cell coverage and miles before houses. If you were to need help it might not be easy to get. If someone knows where you went and how long you expected to be gone they can investigate should your arrival be delayed for some reason.
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Those are just a few tips I have. Most of all, just remember to be smart and safe each time you travel no matter what the road conditions and weather conditions may be!
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