Every year, more than 20% of car crashes happen in winter alone due to the heavy snow and sleet that reduces visibility and makes roads slippery, as reported by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). For this reason, the National Weather Service (NWS) outlines safety measures during winter to help drivers stay safe on the roads. At times, the risk could be too high to manage, and hence, canceling your trip could be the only way to stay safe. Here are five driving habits to avoid during winter for your safety and that of other road users.
If you’re in a hurry to reach your destination, you are more likely to speed regardless of the weather conditions, and this may put your safety in jeopardy. Take note that if you are speeding, you’re more likely to slam on the brakes, which will, in turn, cause your car to skid. To avoid this, ensure you allocate extra time for your trip and drive slowly at all times. You should also learn the basic skills of driving during winter to enhance your driving safety, says the Insurance Information Institute (III).
Driving with Snow on the Roof of Your Car
No matter how late you are for that corporate meeting, always spare a few minutes to remove snow from the body of your car. Most people only remove snow from the windshield and windows to enhance their visibility and end up ignoring the roof. Although the snow on your car roof is less likely to affect you as the car occupant, it will definitely reduce the visibility of your car by other drivers. That said, always clear snow using equipment such as a snow brush or snow scraper, per the National Safety Council (NSC). However, avoid pouring hot water on your windows in an attempt to melt the ice, as this may cause them to crack.
Using Summer Tires
Since roads tend to be particularly slippery during winter, you need all the traction you can get while driving. Made from a softer rubber and packed with large tread blocks, summer tires perform well in temperatures above 45 degrees Fahrenheit. However, low temperatures cause the rubber to harden, crack, and eventually reduce traction. Thankfully, winter tires have deeper tread patterns with sipes, which increase traction and perform well in winter conditions, as reported by the U.S. News and World Report.
Not Monitoring Tire Pressure
The normal pressure of a typical car tire ranges from 32 to 40 psi. However, this is directly proportional to temperature, and hence, it will reduce if the temperatures go down, as reported by the University of California. This means that during winter, your car is more likely to deflate on its own, and hence you need to regularly monitor the tire pressure. To ease your work, you can install an automatic pressure monitor that alerts you whenever the pressure goes down. Additionally, ensure you have a backup car air pump to re-inflate your tires in case the pressure reduces.
Not Checking the Weather Conditions in Advance
Every winter, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) gives weather updates and advises the public accordingly. For example, if it’s storming, drivers are advised to cancel their trips until the weather becomes safer for driving. This means you should always listen to the weather warnings to avoid finding yourself in danger.
Avoid these driving habits during winter and stay safe on the road. Additionally, carry the right auto insurance coverage. For any assistance with your auto insurance coverage, contact the experts at CIA Insurance and Risk Management in Michigan today. We will help you get the coverage you need.
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