It’s never 100 percent safe to drive in bad weather. When you can, you should always postpone your trip and wait for things to clear up. However, even those who have only been driving a short time know that staying off the roads is not always possible. You have a job to get to, classes to attend and friends and family to visit. You have a life, and it isn’t always willing to wait for it to stop snowing.
1. Plan Ahead to Avoid Bad Weather When Possible
If you pay attention to the news, you can find out about incoming storms and weather patterns and adjust your plans accordingly. For example, if you see that a huge snowstorm will be moving through your area in two days, try to run all your errands and take care of anything you need to ahead of time. This way, you can reduce the amount of time that you need to spend on the road.
2. Extend Your Cushion
You probably learned in drivers education that it’s important to always leave a cushion of space between you and the driver in front of you. During snowy or icy weather, your car could skid much more easily, and therefore, you will want to double or even triple that amount of space. Skidding out of control on an icy road is one of the most terrifying things you can experience as a driver, so move forward as slowly and cautiously as you can.
3. Carry an Emergency Kit
Always keep an emergency kit in your car in case you’re caught in bad weather. The kit should include road flares, duct tape, anti-freeze spray for locks, an ice scraper, a flashlight, non-perishable food, drinking water, warm blankets and extra clothing. If you know you’re going to be driving during bad weather, always make sure that your cell phone is charged before you go.
4. Give Your Car a Checkup
Driving in bad weather will be even more dangerous if your car isn’t up to the challenge. Before the winter season begins, have your tires checked and rotated, your breaks inspected and your windshield wipers replaced. Clean your headlights, change your oil and have all of your other fluids checked. The better you take care of your car, the less likely you will find yourself broke down on the side of the road during an ice storm.
5. Always Wear Your Seat Belt
If you’re one of the people who thinks it’s cool to go without a seat belt, now is the time to change your tune. It’s always dangerous to drive without the proper safety precautions, let alone in bad winter weather. It would be a shame to lose your life over what would have been a simple fender bender. Commit to wearing your seat belt every time you get in the car, and you will be much safer regardless of the weather.
6. Know When to Cancel Your Plans
Sometimes, adjusting your plans isn’t enough. You may need to accept that in certain weather, driving is never going to be safe. If you see reports of black ice on the news, stay home. Icy roads present more accident risk than any other form of winter weather. No job, date, meeting or class could ever possibly be worth losing your life because of ice on the road, so postpone your plans and spend the evening safe at home instead.