The holiday season is in full swing, and you know what that means: hilarious videos of cars sliding all over the road are about to flood social media. That said, this might not be something to laugh about, as you might find yourself in a similar situation, and the consequences might not be so benign.
Yes, the holidays bring with them some adverse weather, longer nights, and a whole lot of hazards on the road, which makes it all the more difficult to safely take a longer road trip, or even maneuver safely around town. Here to help you keep everyone safe on the road, including yourself, are the five tips you need to take to heart.
Check the weather before you leave
First things first, the winter weather can be quite deceptive. During the summer, what you see is what you get – if the sun’s up, it’s hot. Simple as that. During wintertime, however, discerning between adverse weather and a pleasant afternoon might not be such a simple task, so you need to take extra precautions before you leave the house, or work.
Start by checking the weather on your smartphone. Don’t just check the current weather, but also the expected weather effects for the rest of the day. Next, assess the state of your route. Are there any ice patches, sharp turns, of damaged stretches of pavement you should know about? Having this information can mean the difference between a safe drive home and spiraling out of control. Mind you, this can happen no matter how much you try to control the wheel.
Make sure your car is road worthy
Keeping your car in excellent driving condition all year round is not only a smart thing to do, it’s also the law. Doing this will help you prolong the lifespan of your vehicle, avoid hefty fines and court hearings, and most importantly, keep yourself and your passengers safe at all times. Come wintertime, and keeping your car road-worthy becomes even more important.
First, go ahead and switch to winter tires if you haven’t already. It’s not only the law, it’s also a necessity for road safety. If you don’t, you will spiral out of control. Next, make sure the braking system is working properly, otherwise you will slam into another vehicle at one point or another. Finally, check the fluids and the battery, otherwise the car might not even start.
Is your vehicle up for the challenge?
When true winter finally comes, you need to ask yourself the question: is my car up for the challenge? Truth be told, many car manufacturers will advertise their vehicles as excellent choices in any weather condition, but the reality can be quite different. In fact, very few vehicles have what it takes to keep you safe on ice, show, and heavy rain.
To ensure a safe driving experience, you can compare the new Ford Escape vs Sportage to get an understanding of what an all-around vehicle should have in terms of power, emergency assistance, fuel economy, and other features that can make all the difference on the road. Now compare your vehicle to these findings and determine for yourself if you need to keep it in the garage.
Slow down and keep your eyes peeled
Once you find yourself on the road, you want to practice caution, patience, and critical thinking. There is nothing that can get you in a jam or cause a collision like bad weather coupled with poor judgement or speedy driving, so be sure to slow down before someone gets hurt. You always want to stick to the prescribed speed limit, and even slow down a bit more if you’re feeling insecure behind the wheel.
Next, keep your eyes peeled. It’s not about your driving skills, it’s about everyone around you. You never know how well someone else will be able to handle driving in poor-visibility weather, or whether or not they will be able to control their vehicle on an icy road. Don’t risk it, follow the signs, watch out for surprises, and drive carefully.
Always have an emergency kit on hand
Last but not least, there is no excuse for not having a winter emergency kit in your trunk. This kit will include a shovel, an emergency folding triangle, a spare tire and a car jack, and of course, a first-aid kit. Use the shovel to dig the car out of the snow, lift it up with a jack, and replace the tire if need be.
Follow the instructions included in the first-aid kit to give aid to yourself or an injured passenger efficiently and effectively. Don’t think it won’t happen, because wintery roads don’t choose their victims – accidents can happen to anyone. Stay vigilant, and know what to do in case of an emergency.
Driving during the holiday season is not a task to be taken lightly. With the colder weather and the impaired visibility come numerous hazards that might catch you off-guard, so use these tips in order to ensure a safe driving experience during this holiday and winter season.