In Minnesota, we’re used to harsh winters and less-than-ideal driving conditions. We’ve all experienced snowy, slick roads and hoping we don’t skid. A lot of accidents happen in winter, but there are things you can do in order to prevent them. Here are some safety tips for winter driving to keep in mind: 

Slow down. 

This first point is essential to staying safe on the roads in winter. If you’re driving too fast and hit a patch of ice, or even some slush, it’s difficult to regain control of your vehicle. Cars may have to suddenly brake in front of you, so you need time to stop as well. When the roads are slick, drive under the speed limit and with caution. 

Don’t use cruise control. 

When the roads are slick, you shouldn’t use cruise control. If you hit any icy patch and start skidding, your wheels will still be turning at a fast rate to keep up with the speed. You also may not have enough time to hit the brakes or turn the cruise control off before colliding with another vehicle or sliding off the road. 

Increase following distance. 

When vehicles in front of you stop or skid, you need enough time to come to a stop to avoid hitting them. In bad driving conditions, you should have a following distance of 8 to 10 seconds, rather than the usual 3 to 4.  

Know how to correct a skid. 

Even when driving slowly, you can start to skid if you hit a patch of ice. Knowing how to correct the skid and staying calm is key to avoiding hitting other vehicles. Take your foot off the gas pedal and avoid the temptation to hit the brakes. Turn the steering wheel in the direction you’re skidding, and when your tires have regained traction, straighten it out and continue on with caution.  

Pay attention. 

You should never drive distracted, but in a blizzard or on an icy road, you need to be paying extra-careful attention to the road. You never know when the car in front of you could start skidding, so even taking a hand off the wheel to get a drink isn’t safe. If something absolutely requires your attention, pull over instead. 

Collisions in winter are bound to happen, but you can do your part to keep yourself and others safe on the road. If you do get into an accident, the auto body experts at Crossroads Collision are here to help. We’ve been repairing vehicles around the Twin Cities for over 39 years, and we can assist with your insurance claim as well.