We’ve still got many months of cold weather still to come, and that means it’s going to be dangerous on our roads for a while yet. The statistics show that this is the most dangerous time of year when it comes to accidents, and this despite most people knowing that they need to take extra care on the roads when the weather outside is icy. In reality, it’s not that people don’t know that it’s dangerous: it’s that they’re making mistakes that could be rectified if they knew. Below, we take a look at those common errors.
Thinking Your Car Can Handle It
It’s not just those cars that are obviously better suited for summer driving – hello, convertible mini cooper – that need extra attention during the winter. Indeed, one of the leading causes of accidents is down to good old-fashioned arrogance. People tend to think that their car is better able to handle the chilly weather than it actually is. Just because you have a truck, or you’ve put on winter tires, that doesn’t automatically make you invincible on the roads.
Hitting the Brakes Too Hard
Let’s say that you’re driving down the road, and you hit a bit of black ice. Of course, you want to stop moving as soon as possible. But here’s the thing: you can’t stop as fast as you’d like! Slamming on the brakes won’t bring you to an instant standstill – if you think that, you need a lesson on how many brakes work – but rather prolong your journey along the ice. Brake nice and slow, and stay in control. Also, if you have gears, then use them: they can be more effective in bad weather than brakes.
Forgetting Other Drivers
Sometimes, it’s not a lack of thought that causes problems. It’s the opposite. If you’re thinking too much about what you’re doing in your car, then you won’t be able to pay enough attention to what’s going on around you. And this is where accidents happen. Always keep one eye on the other cars around you; it’ll help you to reduce the likelihood of causing an injury. Of course, this also means that other drivers won’t cause an accident for you, too. If they do, get in touch with personal injury lawyers and get the financial compensation you deserve. Just as with every other time of year, it’s not your driving skills that’ll have the biggest effect: it’s the other drivers on the road.
Thick Boots, Changed Driving Habits
It’s obvious that you want to stay warm during the winter months, but before you bundle yourself up too much, think about how your clothing choices will affect your ability to drive. For example, if you’re wearing thick boots, then you’ll be keeping your feet warm, but you’ll also feel less comfortable in the car. Over time, you get used to certain feelings and sensations when you’re driving, and those boots might mean you can’t feel them anymore. Make sure you’re wearing regular old shoes when you’re driving. You have heating in the car for a reason, so use that to stay warm instead.
Not Having an Emergency Kit
You never know when your car is going to break down. If it happens in summer, then it’s not the end of the world: you can just wait out in the sunshine until help arrives. In winter, you don’t have this luxury. As such, it’s crucial that you have a winter emergency kit stored away in your vehicle. If you have blankets, lights, water, and snacks, you’ll be able to ride out the cold until you can get picked up.
Picking the Best Route
Not all roads are created equal. You might have your favorite route to get to and from work, but if this involves roads that are snowy and won’t be cleared, then it won’t be the best route for you to take. During winter, stick to well lit, clear roads. You don’t want to get stuck out in the backwoods on a road that no one drives down!
It makes no sense to get too close to the car in front, yet you see people doing it all the time. This is one of the few areas of the road that you have complete control over, so use it wisely; make sure you’re giving more space than normal. That way, if you need to brake, you have plenty of space in which to do so.
Winter driving doesn’t have to be a pain. You just need to know how to do it!