As temperatures drop, wet and slippery roads covered in ice and snow can be a daily hazard that drivers have to face. These winter conditions make the roads a little less safe for driving, posing the risk of potentially serious or even fatal accidents. You can still drive safely and protect yourself and your passengers during winter. The first step is learning about the unique hazards that come along with driving on the roads during winter.
Icy roadways and lower temperatures both pose a threat to your safety while driving in winter. Let’s take a closer look at each threat to better understand the danger they pose to you and your family.
When temperatures fall below the freezing point, wet roadways become icy. Ice on the roads can be hazardous and hard to spot. Even if the air feels warm, the road could be freezing, icy, and much colder than the warm air you’re breathing. Icy roadways are dangerous because they prevent your car tires from getting a good grip. As a result, poor traction makes it difficult to control your car, including steering and braking.
Black ice is one particular road hazard that accompanies winter weather. This thin layer of ice that forms on the road’s surface often doesn’t look like ice. As such, you might think that the road is only wet, especially at night. Hitting a patch of black ice can cause you to spin and lose control of your vehicle.
Lower temperatures also have a significant effect on your car’s tires. Colder temperatures cause the air inside your tires to contract, resulting in underinflated tires. This can be dangerous because underinflated tires have a poor grip on the road, decreasing performance and safety. Any vehicle with underinflated tires is prone to sliding on icy roadways and can be more difficult to control. Keep in mind that tires that are not appropriately inflated are also prone to damage.
Tips for Winterizing Your Car
Understanding the danger is only half of the battle. Here are some winterizing steps that can help you drive safely and avoid wintertime car accidents:
- Have an antifreeze and deicer on hand.
- Replace lamp bulbs and ensure your windshield wipers are in great shape.
- Test critical automobile systems, including the car battery.
- Ensure maximum tire pressure and check the tires for pressure drops every day when temperature decreases.
- Always fill your gas tank to protect the car’s gas line from freezing.
- Clear any debris or snow off your car’s exhaust pipe. A blocked exhaust pipe may lead to deadly carbon monoxide poisoning in the cabin.
- Prepare an emergency kit that includes warm clothing and other critical supplies if you’re stranded on the road.
- Always ensure you have your cell phone in the car just in case you might need to call for help after an accident.
- As you plan your travel, make room for delays due to unfavorable weather and road conditions requiring you to drive slower for safety.
- Take extra care when driving along hazardous road sections such as bridges and overpasses.
- Keep your car windows, windshield, and mirrors clean for maximum visibility. Having an ice scraper on hand for clearing these surfaces before setting off might be a good idea.
By observing these tips, you can help neutralize some of the added driving dangers during winter. The best tip to protect yourself and your family while driving is to have the right auto insurance policy all the times. If you need help securing an automobile policy, contact the team at C.V. Mason Insurance Agency. Our experts will help you get a car insurance plan that suits your budget and requirements.