The winter months mean snowy and icy roads are upon us and as we know, driving on them can be a challenge. Being prepared and knowing what to expect in adverse weather can help create a safer ride and prevent motor vehicle accidents.
Whether you’re an experienced winter driver or new to snow and ice, we can all benefit from reminders about safe winter driving.
Winter weather can bring unexpected and dangerous road conditions. Before you hit the highways this winter, it’s important to be prepared:
- Check your car’s tires, battery, brakes and fluids to ensure they are working properly.
- Pack yourself an emergency kit that includes snacks, water, a flashlight, a cell phone charger, blankets, a shovel, jumper cables, a first aid kit, extra winter gear, an ice scraper, sand, matches and other supplies.
- Listen to weather advisories and if possible, avoid traveling when weather conditions are unfavorable.
Drivers may need to adjust their habits to stay safe while driving on snow-covered roads, so the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) recommends the following while traveling:
- Clear your car of snow and ice before you drive and as you are traveling.
- Keep your vehicle’s gas tank close to full.
- Slow down and allow yourself extra time to get to your destination.
- Increase the following distance between you and other vehicles.
- Brake carefully to stay in control and avoid using your car’s cruise control.
- Use your headlights – state law requires the use of headlights when using your windshield wipers.
- Be aware of black ice.
- Drive carefully on bridges and overpasses.
- Use caution around snowplows and slow down as soon as you encounter one.
- Let others know about your travel plans in case you run into an emergency.
- Always wear your seat belt.
PennDOT also recommends avoiding travel when winter weather conditions are in the forecast, but if you must drive, keep safety first and foremost.