It can be tempting to dash through the snow, rain or ice during the busy holiday season, but rushing on winter roads puts you at greater risk for car crashes. Twenty-one percent of all auto collisions are weather-related, mostly due to wet pavement and rain, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Follow your instincts, and don’t drive if you feel unsafe or if authorities are advising you to stay off the road. If you do venture out, proceed with caution and remember the most important rule: slow down.
Keep these other tips in mind when driving this winter:
- Avoid braking and turning at the same time. Brake first, then turn, then accelerate. Accelerate and decelerate more slowly than you would on dry roads.
- Leave plenty of space between your car and the car ahead of you. Increase following distances to at least 6 seconds.
- Drive with your low-beam headlights on, even during daylight.
- Be predictable. Use turn signals, make sure lanes are clear before changing and leave plenty of time to stop.
- Avoid using cruise control, which can reduce traction.
- If you start to skid, don’t slam on the brakes. Continue to look and steer in the direction you
- want the car to go.
- Avoid puddles when it’s safe to do so.
- Always wear your seat belt.
- Stay alert and minimize distractions. Don’t text, talk on the phone or drive under the influence
- of alcohol or drugs.
- In snow and ice, try not to stop when heading up a steep hill. After you’ve stopped, applying extra gas to get started again may only spin your wheels. Get some momentum going on a flat road as you approach the hill to help you reach the top, then reduce your speed and drive down the hill slowly.
- If your visibility is so limited that you can’t see in front of you, carefully pull off to the side of the road and stop completely.
For more information, visit AAA Exchange, talk to a AAA Insurance agent or visit your local branch office.