Winter Driving- General Driver Safety
When the cold winter winds start to blow, and the ice starts to form, it’s time to brush up on your severe weather driving skills. Even here in Georgia, we see snow as well as plenty of precipitation and ice buildup on our roads, so winter driving often requires a bit more preparation and caution than driving in the warm, dry seasons.
In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, 22% of car accidents occur in adverse weather conditions, with over 6,000 people killed each year in winter weather crashes. Snow, sleet, ice, blowing wind, and poor visibility can all impact the safety of any length drive, and can be a challenge for any driver - especially teenage and elderly drivers. It’s in these instances that all drivers should remember the 3 P’s, from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and OSHA for navigating winter roads:
- Have your vehicle inspected, maintained, and stocked with emergency gear before winter hits - this includes air in the tires, a full tank of gas, a blanket and food/water.
- Some drivers keep kitty litter in their trunks. Kitty litter can help create traction between tires and icy roads.
- Check weather forecasts before leaving and have alternate routes available.
- Leave yourself extra time to reach your destination.
- Clean your car and windows of all snow/ice before driving.
- Practice driving in adverse conditions: find an abandoned. parking lot or similar area to practice starting, stopping, turning, etc.
- Always wear your seat belt and insist that your passengers do as well.
- Properly install any child car seats or carriers - this goes for pets too!
- Know who to call for help if you become stranded - have phone numbers for AAA, Georgia patrol, and immediate family accessible.
- Don’t engage in any other risky driving behavior, but especially in inclement weather.
- Drive slower than the speed limit.
- Leave ample room between yourself and the cars around you.
- Stay calm and patient.
- Eliminate dangerous distractions like cell phones, eating, drinking, etc.
For additional Tips for Safe Winter Driving, please view or download this PDF from Safercar.gov.
We want everyone to get home safely, no matter what time of the year, so that’s why here at iRideSafe™ we’ve created helpful resources for you and your family. Check out our driving safety videos, links, and handouts, and start practicing your smart and savvy driving skills today. The more mindful and cautious drivers we have on the road this winter, the better.