Even though Atlanta doesn’t see the same kinds of winter conditions as other parts of the country, you still need to be prepared. Having some solid winter driving safety tips on hand could save you some hassle, and maybe even from a serious accident.
Winter weather driving shouldn’t be considered lightly. Hopping in your car and just going on your way like everything is normal not only is foolish, it’s downright dangerous. You must change your driving habits in bad weather, plus take some extra precautions, otherwise you’re flirting with disaster.
Tips for Driving on Ice
The biggest thing you need to contend with during the winter here is ice. Driving on ice safely is possible, but you need to be prepared and armed with solid information. First, realize you cannot stop quickly, so speed up and slow down gradually. You should also go under the speed limit, which was set with dry conditions in mind.
If it’s possible, you should try to not stop at all, but instead coast to red lights with the hope they will change to green before you arrive.
Avoiding hills is a good idea, but if you have to go up them you cannot slam on the accelerator. Instead, keep your speed consistent. Also, never stop on a hill, because your risk of sliding increases dramatically.
If you do slide, don’t panic. The natural tendency is to steer the wheels in the opposite direction you’re sliding. You should actually point the wheels toward where you’re sliding, letting the tire tread “bite” into the ice so you regain traction and stop. This is completely counter-intuitive thing to do, but it could save you from an accident.
Of course, the safest way to deal with ice on the roads is to stay home. You might need to go to work, but limit how many other places you travel. This is the single best way to stay safe.
Keep Your Vehicle on its Maintenance Schedule
When it comes to winter driving safety tips, you may be thinking about the drive itself. In fact, maintaining your vehicle is a good move, whether you’re staying in town or plan on venturing out onto the open road. Driving in the winter brings with it some special considerations. You need good wiper blades so you don’t risk not being able to see. If yours leave streaks on the glass, it’s time to get them replaced.
Your tires need to have plenty of tread, and should be inflated properly. All your car’s fluids need to be kept at ideal levels, or you could have serious problems. The battery terminals should be free of corrosion, otherwise you risk the engine not starting.
Plan Ahead: Winter Safety Driving Tips
If you have to go out, always plan on trips taking longer. This means you should leave sooner so you’re not tempted to speed.
Keep your headlights on when the sky is overcast, that way you’re more visible to other drivers.
Before starting off, always clear any snow or ice off your vehicle. Keep an ice scraper somewhere inside your vehicle, so you can clear it completely as needed. If you cannot see out of the windows, the risk of hitting another car or a person skyrockets. Also, always check that the tailpipe is free of ice, slush or other debris before you get going, or else you risk carbon monoxide entering the cabin.
Before hitting the open road for a long trip in the winter, pack an emergency kit. It should have food, water, blankets, lights and first aid supplies. Always look up the weather reports for the path you’ve planned, and tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to arrive. Pack some snow chains, because you might run into heavy winter conditions in some areas. There could be situations where the local authorities require chains for you to drive on the road, making having them valuable.
When you’re out on the road, try to keep your gas tank above the halfway mark. If you do happen to get caught in some especially bad weather, the extra fuel will help you keep the engine and heater running.
Absolutely do not use cruise control is the road is slick. The car can’t make necessary adjustments if there’s trouble, which is why you should be in control at all times.
Driving in winter weather is always a challenge, no matter how much experience you have. These winter driving safety tips are preventative steps you can take to help you stay safe when you’re behind the wheel.