Snowy, icy, and slushy roads are just a factor we have to deal with when living in Minnesota. Every winter is a bit different, and while we can hope for a mild one, there’s no telling how much snow we’ll get this upcoming season. According to the Federal Highway Administration, over 1,800 people die each year in crashes due to snowy road conditions. Additionally, almost 500,000 car accidents each year are due to poor driving conditions in winter. To keep those numbers from rising, we’ve got some tips to drive safely this winter.
- Get winter tires. Because of their unique tread pattern, these tires provide better traction than all-season tires.
- Clear snow and ice off your vehicle before driving. An ice scraper is a necessity to have in your car to clear off your windshield and windows, but you also need to remove snow from your hood and roof. Snow blowing off your car can blind drivers behind you.
- Slow down. If your vehicle starts to skid, you’re driving too fast. You also need to give yourself more time to brake so that you don’t find yourself having to slam on the brakes to stop in time.
- Don’t tailgate. Because you need more distance than usual to come to a full stop, there needs to be adequate space between you and the car in front of you. In perfect driving conditions, the following distance is three seconds; in snowy, icy, or slushy conditions, your following distance should be at least six seconds.
- Don’t use cruise control. It can be tempting to use it when you’re on a long trip, but you need to have full control over your vehicle. If your vehicle starts to skid, the cruise control will continue to accelerate.
- Check weather and road conditions before driving. Knowing what to expect can allow you to take alternate routes or postpone your venture until conditions have cleared up.
- Don’t drive distracted. You should never be distracted while driving, but it’s especially important when road conditions are poor. Looking down for just a second can result in a crash from not being able to brake in time.
It’s always best to avoid going out in poor winter weather conditions, but if it can’t be avoided, following these tips can help keep you safe on the road. If you do get in an accident, Crossroads Collision can arrange to have your vehicle towed and brought to our collision center. We’ve been serving the Twin Cities area for over 40 years.