If cold, wet weather is headed in your direction and you need to drive, you’ll want to review these best practices for before, during and after you hit the road:
Car in good shape? Check! Inspect your car battery, tire treads and pressure, and windshield wiper to ensure they’re all tip-top, and that you have enough anti-freeze and wiper fluid.
Stow before you go. Load your car with these essentials: snow brush and ice scraper, shovel, flashlight, jumper cables, blankets and warning devices, such as flares.
Get your fill. Be sure to start out with a full tank of gas. If you hit bad weather or traffic, and need to change your route, you want to make sure you don’t come up empty.
Take it slow. Allow plenty of time to get where you need to go, bring down your speed on snow- and ice-covered roads, and increase your following distance so you have enough time to react if the car in front suddenly stops.
Make nice with ice. The best way to regain control of your car when you skid is to steer into it. Here’s how: ease your foot off the gas while steering carefully in the direction you want the front of your car to go. Stay off the pedals until you can control the car.
Know what your car can do. Vehicles handle differently, so know what kind of brake you have. If you’re driving in rough weather and have antilock brakes, apply firm, continuous pressure. For non-antilock, pump them gently.
Drinks and driving don’t mix. If you’ve been drinking, designate a driver, call a cab or spend the night wherever you are. You’ll be safer for it in the morning.
Sources: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Insurance Information Institute