Driving requires all the care and caution possible any time of year. But winter driving has even greater challenges because of wet and icy road surfaces, longer hours of darkness and poor visibility due to snow, rain and fog.
Help your workers drive safely this winter with these tips.
9 Tips for Safe Winter Driving
1. Allow enough time to get to your destination. Rushing in difficult driving conditions can lead to an accident. Before you leave, get an updated road report and weather forecast. And in the winter, plan to leave a few minutes earlier in the morning, and allow yourself plenty of time to get to work.
2. Wait out bad weather. Strong icy winds in combination with snow or dust can make it impossible to see where you are driving - or walking. Under these conditions it is usually safest to wait out the storm.
3. If your car’s been buried beneath an overnight snowstorm, take a minute to clear away all the snow and ice from your vehicle before you drive off. This will help prevent sheets of ice from flying off your car and hitting the vehicle behind you. And remember to always keep your vehicle’s air intake grill free of snow and ice.
4. Good visibility is essential to safe driving. Keep your windshield washer fluid topped up and clean your windows and headlights frequently throughout your trip.
5. Drive appropriately for the road conditions. The posted speed limit may be too fast under winter conditions. Driving on a wet road can cause hydroplaning as a thin barrier of water builds up between your tires and the road surface, causing your vehicle to slip. If you begin to lose control of your steering, take your foot off the gas.
6. Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and other vehicles. The “three second rule” works well on dry roads and in ideal conditions, but in winter you should extend it to four seconds. Watch the vehicle directly ahead of you. As it passes a stationary object start counting - “one thousand and one,” “one thousand and two,” and so on. Your vehicle should not pass the same object until you say the word “four.”
7. Plan your moves carefully. In slippery conditions, never jam on your brakes in a panic stop, you will most likely skid and lose control of the vehicle. Instead, pump your brakes gently a few times.
8. Stay calm. Sometimes other drivers get frustrated with slow-moving traffic. Keep your temper and don’t let other drivers aggravate you. Maintain a safe speed and drive defensively.
9. Stay alert. You know, of course, not to drive when you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs. But it’s also important to read the labels of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines to determine if they can cause drowsiness. Driving demands your full attention.
Winter driving can be challenging, especially if driving is a part of your job. Take your time and plan ahead.