In the winter, treacherous weather can strike at any time. Nearly three quarters of the country will experience freezing temperatures, so chances are good that at some point, you will encounter driving in blizzard conditions. The last thing you want to do is panic and make sudden maneuvers that will land you in a snowbank or an accident.
Knowing what to expect ahead of time will help you feel safer on the road and more confident in your ability to get to where you need to go.
- Watch the Weather Forecast. Even meteorologists get it wrong much of the time, but it makes sense to attempt to know what you might be driving into. Keep a weather app on your phone and set the alerts on so you will be notified of any inclement weather either before or during your trip.
- Secure the Best Coverage. Part of feeling safe on the road is knowing that you have car insurance coverage which completely suits your needs. Research auto insurance quotes online so that you can arm yourself with a policy that perfectly fits your needs and circumstances. Beyond this, auto insurance research is a great way to find affordable car insurance and that will be a win-win, both in terms of safety and savings.
- Ditch the Cruise Control. It’s difficult to give up something that makes your life easier – and a long trip more tolerable – but cruise control on snowy and icy roads can create a situation where you lose control of the vehicle – and your speed.
- Don’t Stop. If possible and reasonable, don’t stop while you’re driving through a blizzard. You may find it extremely difficult to start going again due to snow build up on the road. It might also pose a hazard to those behind you who may be unable to stop or avoid you.
- Go Slow. Most people enjoy putting the pedal to the metal, but during a blizzard it can be a huge mistake. Slowing down will allow you to control the vehicle more accurately and efficiently, help you see any stalled vehicles, accidents or dead wildlife in the road and have enough time to determine how you will react. Try and keep a good 8-10 seconds between you and the car in front of you, as the snow and ice will make it more difficult for you to stop if necessary.
- Follow the Tracks. If the road you’re on is snow covered, follow the tracks of the car that is in front of you. It will allow you to maintain better control of the car, as well as keeping all other vehicles in their proper lanes since road lines won’t be visible.
- Patience is a Virtue. So, you might be late for that dinner reservation, or the movie started 15 minutes ago. Mother Nature doesn’t care about your evening plans, but she will ruin them if given the opportunity! Be patient with yourself, the conditions, the snowplows, and the other drivers on the road. Remember, they are frustrated, too, and falling slowly, safely in line with each other is the best way to stay safe.
- Pack an Emergency Kit. Keep a few items in your vehicle that will help you if you do happen to go off the road or find yourself in a situation where you’re waiting for help. Items that will keep you warm like a blanket, extra coat, scarf, gloves, hat. An extra phone charger, a snack, and a flashlight if, for some reason, you need to exit the vehicle. Keep a bag of kitty litter or sand in the trunk to help with traction, along with a shovel. A brightly colored piece of cloth (not white or off white) like orange, yellow or red, tucked in a window or by your side mirror will alert people that you need help.
- Stay Calm. If you find yourself sliding out of control, try and remain calm. If panic sets in, you might make a quick move that will put you in harm’s way. Hopefully, you will be going slow enough to ease the vehicle back on track. Take your foot off the gas and don’t slam on the brakes. Steer in the direction you want the car to go. Wait patiently for the vehicle to slow down and the wheels to catch up so you can reclaim control.
- Avoid Over-Confidence. It might be that you’re driving an all-terrain vehicle or monster truck, but remember that ice is ice, and regardless of the tires or car, you can still slip.
For most Americans, it’s not a matter of if, but when they will drive through a blizzard. Brush up on the best steps to take, along with getting the perfect insurance policy for you to feel composed on the roads.