Winter Driving Tips
Winter can be an amazing time in many ways, if you like outdoor snow-sports it is the best time of the year, there’s nothing better than warming up in a steaming hot spring, it brings holidays like Christmas, New Years, Hanukkah and others to celebrate with friends and loved ones and it represents the ever-changing cycle of life as the annual plants die off and the perennial plants go dormant until Spring. If you can’t tell, we love winter at HD Insurance, but we know there are many people out there that don’t feel the same way.
Regardless of whether you love or dread winter, it can be a dangerous time to be on the roads. Black ice, blizzards and snow storms can increase the chance of sliding off the road or into another vehicle. The colder temperatures and snow-covered mountains also brings the animals that call those mountains home closer to the city as they search for food and water which adds another threat to our travels, having to avoid them as they wander across the roads.
We wrote about preparing for winter last month as the temperatures started to drop but wanted to touch on it again as we get closer to snow falling in Idaho. Now is the time to get new tires, if you need them, and before long it will be time for studded snow tires, for those that choose to use them. If you’re confident in the tires you have now, it’s always smart to check the pressure levels each time you leave in the morning because as the temperatures drop, so does the pressure in our tires.
It’s also a good time to get an oil change and ask that they use winter-grade oil. As the temperatures drop you want the oil running through your motor to be thinner. You also want to use a winter windshield wiper fluid, this will help melt the ice on your windshield that is created when the heat from your vehicle melts the snow which then freezes quickly due to the cold temperatures outside. It will also help prevent ice buildup on your windshield wipers which leads to them doing more harm than good.
As we mentioned in our previous post, a winter car kit is essential. It’s always important to be prepared on the road but getting stuck or stranded in winter could lead to much more dire consequences than during any other season. Pack a bag with warm clothes, gloves, socks, a blanket, road flares, non-perishable foods and water. Sand, or cat litter, is also a must because it can be spread near the tires when stuck to create a surface with traction. Chains, or these alternatives, are also a great addition to your winter kit and don’t forget about jumper cables!
There are also techniques to use while driving that can help prevent accidents or sliding off the road and getting stuck. Accelerate and decelerate slowly, drive slowly, increase the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you, know your breaks and how they react, don’t stop if you can avoid it, take hills slowly to avoid losing traction, never stop while driving up a hill and if you don’t need to go out, stay home. Try to get everything you need while you’re out to cut down the time you spend on the road.
When traveling on a road with blind corners it is always good to exercise caution, you never know what’s around that turn. There could be an accident or an animal trying to find some nourishment. The presence of animals on the roads increases dramatically during winter months so if you’re out and about keep your eyes open, off your cell phone and free of distraction. Animals can cause major damage to our vehicles and are a vital part of the ecosystems they inhabit so we are always sad to see them laying on the side of the road.
We will be giving away a winter driving kit to a lucky member of our community! To be the first to know about our giveaways, sign up for our newsletter below. The giveaways are our way of saying thank you to those that read our blog, visit our website and follow us on Facebook.
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