Winter conditions can pose a serious risk to drivers throughout the United States, and those in Colorado know all too well how dangerous these can be if you’re inexperienced.
January is nationally recognized as Teen Driving Awareness Month, so we have provided five essential tips for making it through the winter season safely. Read on to learn more.
Perform Preventative Maintenance on Your Vehicle
Before the weather conditions get too severe, ensure that you have performed preventative maintenance on your vehicle to improve its longevity through the season. This can include:
- Checking the fluid levels.
- Having your tires rotated or replaced.
- Swapping your tires for all-weather or winter tires if there is a chance of heavy snowfall.
- Keeping your gas tank at half full.
- Replacing old windshield wipers.
- Checking under the hood for any loose or broken wires and hoses.
- Getting your oil changed.
- Checking corrosion and charge levels on your battery.
You will also want to monitor these things throughout the season to ensure your vehicle is functioning properly. Doing so can significantly reduce the possibility of an accident caused by mechanical failure.
Keep an Emergency Kit in Your Vehicle
All drivers should keep a stocked emergency kit in either the back seat or trunk with items that can help in various emergencies. This kit can include:
- First aid supplies like bandages, aspirin, medical tape, gauze, antiseptic wipes
- Jumper cables
- Road flares
- Tool kit
- Weather supplies like a snow brush and ice scraper
- Battery-powered or crank radio
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Pet supplies, if applicable
- Extra coat, gloves, and hat
- Water bottles and nonperishable snacks
Depending on your location, maps or other safety items may also be necessary to include.
Improve Visibility When Possible
Drivers should be mindful of how visibility can be impacted by wintery conditions. While it’s always a good idea to replace old windshield wipers prior to the season, you should also consider checking wiper fluid levels and having your headlights cleaned.
Furthermore, every Denver driver knows how dangerous fog can be during the late winter months. It’s important to remember to only use low beams or fog lights when driving in this weather condition, as high beams may have the opposite effect you want them to, like reflecting the light back on the driver instead of cutting through the dense weather.
Avoid Sudden Braking on Snow and Ice
In heavy snow or icy roadways, drivers should caution against accelerating or braking too quickly, as this may quickly become hazardous. Instead, drivers should slowly press on the brake or gas pedal and build up to a safe stopping point or speed.
In instances where your car begins to skid, avoid accelerating or harshly turning the wheel. Drivers should instead take their foot off the gas and turn towards the direction of the skid until they are able to regain control.
Only Drive When Absolutely Necessary
Driving in inclement weather conditions can easily become dangerous for drivers at any skill level, so it’s crucial to only drive when absolutely necessary. It is also a safer option to limit your driving hours to the daytime when the roadways are more visible and temperatures are fairly mild. Most car crashes happen at night, so be mindful of how winter weather conditions can inhibit driving ability.