Tomorrow, most of Pennsylvania will see the first wintry event of the holiday season. While the storm is not expected to bring much snow, there will be enough mixed precipitation to cause inconvenience to drivers during the evening commute. Listed below are five tips to consider as winter draws closer.
- NO DISTRACTIONS! This is ALWAYS in our firm’s blog posts, but it bears repeating, because it is so often forgotten. In instances of bad weather, hands free and distraction free driving can save lives. Finish any grooming or preparations before you leave the house. Build in enough time so that you don’t have to leave in a frazzle or haze. Turn on the headlights, plug in the phone, set the radio station, and enter the GPS destination BEFORE leaving the driveway. If you have to check the phone for calls and/or texts, pull off the road.
- Drive Defensively. Most people are not good at driving in the snow. Use common sense when navigating the roadways.
- Build in extra time. It may take longer to get to your destination in the snow and/or ice. If it usually takes a half hour to reach your destination, leave an extra 15-20 minutes ahead of your usual departure time to allow for traffic and detours.
- Leave more than a car length of space between you and the car in front of you. This will allow you to compensate for the unexpected surprises that appear in the roadway.
- Go slow. It’s not a race. Follow posted speed limits and traffic control devices. If you slow down, you can readily maintain control of your vehicle. Avoid using cruise control. Try not to stop on icy or snowy patches, so that you can avoid sliding and spinning.
- Use Familiar Roads. A winter storm is not the time to try out shortcuts or travel on back roads. Drive on roads that are familiar and are heavily traveled. Highways and main thoroughfares are the first roads to be plowed and salted. Back roads receive less attention, and can be fairly treacherous in bad weather.
- Preparation. Before the season officially starts, consider making a safety kit for your car. Include items such as non-perishable food, bottles of water, shovel, ice scraper, blankets, an extra cell phone charger, and reflective tape. In the days leading up to a winter event, make sure that your car has at least a half tank of gas. It is also a good idea to let a neighbor or family member know ahead of time of your travels, and how long you expect the trip to take. Use this person as your contact, in case something goes wrong.
- Car Service and Inspection. Let this snow event serve as a nudge to have your car inspected and serviced. A breakdown event is never good in any season, but it is certainly not something you want to experience in the deep winter. In the waning days of fall, take the opportunity to visit your mechanic for the annual tune up and maintenance. Be sure to address any problem areas you may have in your vehicle, too. Have your vehicle checked for leaks, damaged hoses, and other needed repairs.
- Carpool or stay home. If you are not comfortable driving in winter weather, don’t put yourself (and other people on the road!) at risk. If you have to go somewhere on the day of the weather event, consider public transportation or a carpool. Stay home if you don’t have to be anywhere or do anything. You will be safe (and more comfortable!) watching the weather indoors.
Following these tips can help you navigate the ferocity of winter! Stay safe and warm tomorrow!