Winter driving tips

As the potential for hazardous driving conditions increase over the next few days, here are some winter weather driving safety tips from MedStar Mobile Healthcare.

Stock your vehicle

Carry items in your vehicle to handle common winter driving-related tasks, such as cleaning off your windshield, as well as any supplies you might need in an emergency. Keep these items in your vehicle:

  • Snow shovel, broom and ice scraper.
  • Abrasive material such as sand or kitty litter, in case your vehicle gets stuck in the snow.
  • Jumper cables, a flashlight and warning devices such as flares and emergency markers.
  • Blankets for protection from the cold.
  • A cellphone with charger, water, food and any necessary medicine (for longer trips or when driving in lightly-populated areas).

Plan your travel and route

Keep yourself and others safe by planning ahead before you venture out into bad weather.

  • Check the weather, road conditions and traffic.
  • Don’t rush; allow plenty of time to get to your destination safely. Plan to leave early if necessary.
  • Familiarize yourself with directions and maps before you go, even if you use a GPS system, and let others know your route and anticipated arrival time.

Avoid risky driving behaviors

  • Do not text or engage in any activities that may distract you while driving.
  • Obey all posted speed limits, but drive even slower if necessary for weather conditions.
  • Drive sober. Alcohol and drugs impair perception, judgment, motor skills and memory — the skills critical for safe and responsible driving.

Driving in winter conditions

  • Drive slowly. It’s harder to control or stop your vehicle on a slick or snow-covered surface. On the road, increase your following distance enough so that you’ll have plenty of time to stop for vehicles ahead of you.
  • Know whether your vehicle has an antilock brake system and learn how to use it properly. Antilock brake systems prevent your wheels from locking up during braking. If you have antilock brakes, apply firm, continuous pressure to the brake pedal. If you don’t have antilock brakes, you may need to pump your brakes if you feel your wheels starting to lock up.

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