In the United States, extreme weather is associated with 7,000 fatalities, 800,000 injuries and more than 1.5 million crashes annually, with an estimated economic toll of $42 billion, according to the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health. Researchers say the day after the first storm of the season is the most dangerous for drivers because people are unwilling to avoid driving or don’t adopt safer procedures as thoroughly as they will later in the season.
Preventive driving habits with an emphasis on winter driving safety can make all the difference when driving in winter weather.
Here’s our Top 5 Winter Preparedness Tips for Safe Driving:
- Before departing, have a contingency plan for what you will do if weather conditions deteriorate.
- Maintain at least a half tank of gas during winter season. Along with the correctly blended fuel, this will keep the fuel lines from freezing.
- Keep an emergency supply of water, non-perishable food, extra clothes and blankets in case of a vehicle breakdown or other emergency.
- In a skid, turn into the skid. Depress the clutch fast; Look at the left mirror only; Steer and counter-steer as fast as you can to get back in front of the trailer. According to Road & Truck magazine, drivers face the greatest risk of losing traction on snowy, wet roads when temperatures are between 22 and 35 degrees Fahrenheit. At colder temperatures (10 to 20 degrees or less), icy and snow-covered roads allow more traction than at those warmer temperatures.
- Don’t ask your truck to do more than it can. If you don’t feel comfortable driving, park it. Period.
And, of course, buckle up!
For more winter driving tips, visit our Winter Preparedness Hub.