Safe Driving in the Winter


Photo by Chris Peeters

Lexi Sampson, Staff Writer

‘Tis the season of the year for black ice, ankle-deep slush, and mountains of dirt-colored snow. Winter may bring cherished holiday spirit, but it also brings dangerous roads. Even though a lot of today’s vehicles come with added safety features that can prevent crashes on the icy streets, there are still some common things that everyone needs to know if they have an older car.

According to the National Safety Council or NSC, there are four things that you should be doing before leaving the house to drive during the winter: check the weather, prepare your car, know what to do in order to avoid a crash, and have supplies gathered beforehand to take with you in case your car breaks down or you get stuck. Supplies that should be included are blankets and warm clothing, non-perishable foods, a compass, flares, a flashlight, and a first-aid kit.

Being prepared in case you get stuck or stranded is highly important, but knowing just how to drive in the snow is just as crucial. The American Automobile Association  has provided some very useful driving tips such as avoid driving when you’re fatigued, making sure you have the correct amount of air pressure in your tires, and keeping your gas tank at least half-full to prevent gas line freeze-up, which is when water vapor in the fuel line freezes due to cold temperatures and prevents the engine from getting the amount of fuel it needs. Avoid using your parking brake, cruise control, stopping on a hill, and slamming on your brakes at the last minute. Last but not least, always wear your seatbelt. A lot of these tips apply for driving in dry weather, but they are especially prevalent in the winter.

Crashes on the roads are very common during the winter. Make sure you are educated on the proper actions to take when your car slides out of your control. It may seem like a hassle, but taking a few extra minutes to make sure your car is functioning correctly and is stocked with the recommended supplies for any situation is better than seriously injuring yourself or another driver on the road.