Ohio experiences all five seasons, spring, summer, fall, winter, and road construction— sometimes all in the same month. However, winter is the time of the year when you’re most likely to be involved in an automobile accident because of the weather.

In this blog, we’ll explore winter driving safety tips that can help you stay safe and protect your vehicle and your family.

Keep an eye on the Weather

Staying ahead of bad weather means being informed of what’s coming. Watch local network television and other stations such as The Weather Channel to stay on top of the five to seven- day forecast. This will help you plan and schedule your drive time accordingly, as well as mentally prepare for what’s ahead.

Winter also throws a variety of different conditions from:

  • snow,
  • sleet,
  • freezing rain,
  • wind and wintery mix,
  • and black ice.

Knowing what the forecast entails allows you to adopt successful strategies for diving in icy conditions.

Don’t drive if you don’t have to 

The easiest way to prevent accidents during winter-time weather is not to drive if you don’t have to. This is another area where keeping an eye on the weather can help you.

For example, if you know that bad weather is coming within the next day, it will allow you to stock up on food and other necessities before the storm so that you have everything you need, and you won’t expose yourself to unnecessary risk venturing out into the elements.

Some employers allow employees working from home. If this is an option for you, take advantage of it and save some wear and tear on your vehicle.

Give yourself plenty of time

Sometimes driving out in the elements is unavoidable. Most businesses will continue to operate until snowmageddon is imminent. If a winter storm complicates your morning commute, try to leave a little earlier.

Give yourself an extra 15 to 30 minutes extra to get to work. Add more time if you have an especially long commute. This way, if there are delays such as accidents, detours, or lane closures, you have given yourself enough time to allow for delays in your regular commute.

Don’t be in a hurry 

No vehicle is 100% winter-proof. I’ve fixed plenty of SUVs and trucks from people who believed their vehicle was impervious until they hit black ice. Consider that the faster you are traveling, the more time you need to brake. If you are traveling faster than conditions will allow, and there’s a sudden stop due to poor visibility, the only thing there to stop you may be the vehicle in front of you.

In many cases, it is recommended to travel slower than the speed limit to maintain a safe driving posture. But what will determine your speed will be the traffic around you.

Be aware of other drivers

It is critical to know what other drivers are doing behind, next to, and ahead of you. Traffic ebbs and flows. Make sure you follow these rules:

  1. Do not tailgate other vehicles during a winter event.
  2. The less space between you and the next car means less stopping time for you.
  3. Always look ahead to see how other cars are responding to the road conditions ahead.

This will help adapt your speed and let you know if you need to stop suddenly.

Drive defensively 

Driving on icy roads can be tricky. Even if the road looks clear black ice can add an element of unseen danger to drive. On icy roads, your tires are not always able to get the traction they need to slow down. Driving under the speed limit and as fast as conditions can give you the time needed to bring your vehicle to a stop.

If you find your vehicle in a skid, try to control the skid by turning your steering wheel in the direction of the skid. For example, sometimes if you are skidding to the right, turning your wheel to the right will cause the front of your vehicle to work against the rear and act as a natural brake to help slow your vehicle and stop the skid.

Be aware of standing snow as it is sometimes necessary to provide more power to your vehicle to drive through it, but too much may also launch you into a skid, but too little can get you stuck.

Lastly, most modern vehicles have antilock brakes, so it is not necessary to pump your breaks as you approach a stop. Provide a steady break with gradual deceleration to stop your vehicle in time.

If you find that your vehicle has been damaged because someone didn’t read our handy winter driving tips, bring your car or truck to Frank’s Auto Body, where our friendly technicians can fix any damage.

From everyone in our shop, we wish you all happy and safe travels this winter.