Colorado winters can be beautiful with snow-covered fields and mountaintops, but they can also be dangerous for people who are unfamiliar with driving on snow and ice. If you are a recent resident of the state, just visiting, or a less experienced driver, here are five safe driving techniques you can use to handle your Colorado winter on the road.
A safe driver always knows to plan out their routes before they leave their house, but this becomes critical when dealing with ice and snow. Make a plan of when to leave your house and then allow for some extra time to get where you are going to accommodate for any car accidents or traffic that you may encounter.
Another crucial aspect of planning ahead is keeping a “survival kit” in your car. Here are some of the items you may want to include:
- Extra warm clothing like gloves, hats, socks, and blankets.
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- Jumper cables.
- First aid kit.
- Ice scraper or other windshield cleaner.
These are only the basic items you may need, but you might want to consider having extra items that could be useful in a variety of situations.
Change Your Driving Habits
While planning ahead is essential to being a safer driver, knowing how to react to other potential hazards is crucial. For first-time snow drivers or teenagers without much experience, driving in frigid temperatures with snow and ice on the road requires extra care and attention. Here are a few simple driving habits you can change that can make driving in these horrible situations easier:
- Leave extra room between you and the car in front of you, and then leave a little bit more.
- Avoid suddenly jerking the wheel or slamming on the brakes.
- Avoid using cruise control, especially if you can’t completely see the road.
- Drive slower than you normally would.
Regardless of how long your trip is, adding these steps into your driving habits during winter can help you avoid any costly accidents.
Know Your Vehicle
Vehicles and parts are always being recalled, so before heading out on a wintery day, make sure that your car is up to industry standards. Try to avoid driving any vehicle that has parts recalled, needs an oil change, or has low tire pressure. You may also want to consider keeping your gas tank filled or at least above half to avoid freezing gas lines.
Don’t forget to have all routine maintenance done on your vehicle before the freezing temperatures come, that way you can avoid shivering on the side of the road before a breakdown happens.
Get Your Vehicle “Winterized”
Preparing your vehicle for winter weather should happen in advance, so be proactive when it comes to making sure your car or truck is ready for the incoming weather. Similar to knowing the state that your vehicle is in, you will also want to take extra steps to make sure it’s ready for the unexpected.
- Get snow tires put on your car, or at the very least, check to make sure your treads aren’t too worn down.
- Check to see if your wipers need replacing.
- Get your battery services to avoid it dying at inopportune times.
Take Care of Yourself
Driving in harsh conditions can be scary or even anxiety-inducing for people who are unfamiliar. While it’s helpful to know what to do when driving during Colorado winters, it’s also important to take care of yourself, too. Here are a couple of things you can do to help yourself while driving in winter conditions:
- If the thought of driving on ice or snow scares you, bring a passenger with you!
- Share your route with loved ones in case you get stranded.
- Don’t be nervous about pulling into a parking lot or gas station to wait out a snowstorm.
Our ultimate goal is to promote safe driving and keep everyone on the roads safe. If you do, however, become involved in a car accident this winter, contact a team of experienced Denver personal injury attorneys who will work with you to get the best possible outcome.