Five Quick Winter Driving Safety Tips
Winter is coming. Few people understand the wicked ways winter can play havoc with safety than those who have experienced a New Jersey winter first hand. Even though you know the basics. It’s a good idea to review a few critical details as winter approaches and freshen up your approach to safe winter driving.
First, a little preparation can help you avoid turning a potentially dangerous situation into one that is exceptionally dangerous. These are simple things you can do now to prepare as part of your winter driving checklist.
- Have your vehicle’s winterized before the season gets into full swing. If you wait until the first major storm approaches, you’ll find long lines and wait times before your vehicle can be serviced.
- Pack an emergency kit. Include things like solar blankets, booster cables, distress signals, kitty litter, road maps, flashlights and batteries, a mobile phone charger, non-perishable snack foods for the children, extra pair of gloves and hat, and a book to read in case you’re in for a longer than expected wait.
- Keep your tank full. Long delays could mean you’re at a risk of running out of gas before the wait is over. Keeping a full tank means you can periodically crank your car to warm things up while you’re waiting.
Make use of resources, such as these, designed to help you travel safely throughout New Jersey.
- 511 New Jersey. Allows you to get up-to-date news about road conditions.
- Nixle Connect. Allows the New Jersey state police to send alerts via text message or email.
- Wireless Emergency Alerts. The National Weather Service, NWS, allows mobile device users to sign up for weather alerts via text message. This particular service is useful because it will send alerts when you’re traveling outside of New Jersey as it is based on your location rather than your registration.
Don’t forget to turn to local northeast winter news sources as well. They may have breaking news and alerts about road closings, accidents, traffic slowdowns, visibility, and where the worst of the weather is located.
Winter Driving – Getting to Your Destination Safely
Winter brings plenty of distractions. Some of the best safe driving tips for winter take place before you even pull out of your driveway. Turn the music down or turn your radio to a weather/traffic station. Make sure everyone is comfortable and that your views are unobstructed. Then keep these things in mind while you’re on the road.
1) Build Extra Time into Your Driving Schedule. Not only do you need to account for treacherous weather conditions, but you must also accommodate other drivers and potential accidents ahead of you too. Padding your schedule to allow for extra time means you can accommodate these situations without needing to rush to get where you’re going.
2) Maintain a Safe Distance Between Yourself and Other Vehicles . This gives you time to slow down and stop if accidents occur ahead of you without needing to slam on your breaks.
3) Slow Down when Visibility is Poor. If you’re having difficulty seeing you’ll miss obstacles, animals, other cars, and maybe even people on the road. No one wants an accident in these conditions.
4) Anticipate Icy Patches. Bridges and underpasses are notorious for ice in cold weather, but so are shady areas and these can take drives by surprise.
5) Keep Windows, Mirrors, Lights, etc. Free of Ice and Snow. This affects your ability to see others and, in the case of lights, the ability of others to see you and can be a dangerous situation. Even if you have to stop to clear them off, keep them clear throughout your trip.