Next to driving on icy roads, the most treacherous type of road is one covered in snow. Snow can cover existing ice, pot holes, and other problems on the surface of the road. In addition, as more vehicles drive on snowy roads, the snow often becomes more packed and much more slippery which can turn it into ice.
Here are some relatively simple strategies that anyone can use to ensure that your next trip on winter roads is a safe one.
- Plan. Prior to embarking on a trip through any area that has experienced recent snowfall, consult weather reports and road conditions prior to beginning your trip. If at all possible, travel only on days that are not currently experiencing snowfall, or only on the roads that have been recently plowed.
- Speed. While driving, maintain a steady speed that is typically below the posted speed limit. Keep about eight seconds between you and the car ahead. This should allow you enough time to react properly if the car ahead runs into any trouble. Speed also affects vehicle handling.
- Handling. When driving in the snow, reactions are going to be a little more exaggerated. Do a little homework and practice in large parking lots so that you have an idea of what to expect when you are driving. Drivers of any skill level can benefit by taking a winter driving course. These classes can refresh old skills and help give much-needed confidence to new drivers.
- Maintenance. One of the most often overlooked parts of any road trip is maintenance. When preparing for a trip in the snow, it is even more important. Check to make sure that your windshield wipers, fluid levels, and tires are all ok. Maintain the proper air pressure, as advised by the manufacturer, and please note that the recommended air pressure for winter driving can be different than the rest of the year.