Dallas survived snow on Christmas Day (Wasn’t that fun for all the kids?), and we should get past New Year’s Eve with no ice on the roads. But this is still a good time for some winter driving tips. This guest post is from Richard McMunn:
Although there is a simple method that motorists can use to prevent wintertime accidents, in the form of avoiding the road altogether under bad conditions, that is not a practical solution for most individuals. Sometimes motorists must brave the roads despite poor visibility, frozen or semi-frozen precipitation, and almost invisible patches of black ice on the asphalt. These motorists should adopt cautious driving practices and have their vehicles readied for winter, while also keeping supplies on hand to handle bad contingencies.
Motorists should get their vehicles checked out even before winter has arrived. Wintertime conditions are often more stressful on vehicles, meaning that the chances of vehicle failure are higher during winter. Similarly, the consequences of vehicle failure are also more serious during winter, meaning that motorists should have greater incentive to make sure that their vehicles are in top condition. Not a single aspect should be neglected, not even the lights and windshield. Depending on the local climate and road conditions, motorists should also get their tires replaced. All-season tires might be suitable in more temperate climates, but such tires are not meant to handle either ice or snow and should be replaced with snow tires. Motorists who have questions about the best preparation for local wintertime driving conditions should never hesitate to consult their mechanics.
Once out on the road, motorists should exercise additional care appropriate to their current driving conditions. For example, if there is precipitation falling, motorists should turn on their lights to alert oncoming vehicles, reduce their driving speed, and maintain more distance between vehicles to compensate. Similarly, motorists should not come to sudden stops as that can send vehicles skidding, which is more reason to maintain the additional distance. Inexperienced motorists should take particular care when passing over less-traveled roads that are prone to freezing over due to the absence of traffic. On a related note, both experienced and inexperienced motorists should tell someone their travel route in case they get lost or become stranded out in the cold.
Motorists should also take care to maintain a kit to get them through roadside emergencies. In general, such kits contain tools and supplies for both getting them out of roadside emergencies and handling the aftermath. For example, beacons and flares tend to be essential to wintertime kits, as are rope, shovels, and salt that can be used to dislodge stuck vehicles. Similarly, most kits should also contain booster cables, spare tires, and tire sealant. For survival purposes, wintertime kits should also include food, water, warm clothing, a flashlight, either a blanket or a sleeping bag, plus a first aid kit that also contains needed medications. Stranded motorists should remain in their vehicles for shelter, rely on light sources to flag down passing vehicles, try to avoid strenuous labor, and avoid running their engines. Of course, all motorists should also bring along cell phones to contact the proper authorities in case of need.
Richard McMunn is the director and founder of How2become.com; a career and recruitment specialist. Richard has written a number of books and helped numerous applicants prepare for and pass recruitment processes. Connect with How2become on Twitter.