Snowy and icy roads are enough to make anyone want to stay indoors wrapped in a cozy blanket until spring. However, a little thing called life makes that impossible. There’s no need to hole up inside as long as you know how to handle the snow. These seven steps will help you prepare for the worst.
1. Have Your Car Inspected
Ideally, you should have your car inspected before the first snowfall, but if it sneaks up on you, get it to the mechanic as quickly as possible. They’ll want to run a winter maintenance inspection to check your battery, brakes, anti-freeze, and especially your tires. You’ll probably want snow tires to help you maneuver icy roads without skidding.
2. Be Prepared
Don’t leave home without a preparedness kit in case you get stranded. You should keep a first aid kit, food, water, blankets, jumper cables, a shovel, and extra antifreeze in your car at all times. Such items may save you in a sticky situation.
3. Know How to Handle Skidding
Keep in mind the proper way to handle your car if you lose control. Don’t slam on your breaks. Instead, take your foot off the gas, and turn your wheel in the direction you want to go. Once you have control of the car again, proceed slowly.
4. Check the Weather
Find out how the weather will be before you leave home, especially if you’re going on a long trip. If there is going to be a storm, postpone your drive if possible. You can also find road reports online that will show satellite images of road conditions, as well as alert you of road closures.
5. Go Slow
When you come upon an icy patch, slow down, but don’t hit your brakes too hard. This will just put you in more danger of skidding. Make sure you brake and accelerate slowly to avoid fishtailing and sliding.
6. Keep Your Tank Full
The winter is no time to let your fuel tank hover on the empty line. If you’re stranded, your car will be your only source of heat, so you’ll want there to be enough fuel in the tank that you can last until help comes. As a general rule, don’t let your tank get below the halfway mark.
7. Be Alert
Studies show that drowsy driving can be just as bad as drunk driving. This becomes even more important during the winter when conditions are already risky. Make sure you get enough sleep before hitting the road and stay off the roads when you are tired.