winter drivingWinter in New England is beautiful and fun but it can also make winter driving quite hazardous for all of us. Regardless of how experienced of a driver you may be, Mother Nature can create situations that are out of our control.

As winter approaches it is important to keep in mind a few winter driving safety tips:

  • Be sure that your vehicle is fully prepared before you take to the road. Check all of the systems, have winter tires put on, be sure the tires have enough air, make sure the defroster operates properly, and have a full tank of washer fluid. Fill up your tank before traveling-keeping your tank as full as possible will minimize condensation, providing the maximum advantage in case of trouble.
  • Keep your vehicle stocked with basic supplies such as: a scraper brush, jumper cables, road flares, a blanket, a flashlight, extra batteries, sand or cat litter to use for traction if your vehicle gets stuck, water, etc.
  • Always clear vehicle and snow off of your vehicle before driving-this includes the TOP of your vehicle. Accidents and even deaths have occurred from people driving around with snow and ice on their vehicle that gets blown off and into the windshield of the vehicle behind them.
  • Clear the exhaust pipe of any snow before running your vehicle to avoid carbon monoxide from building up inside the vehicle, or when garaged.
  • Drive with your headlights on.
  • Be mindful of puddles and black ice. It doesn’t take much to hydroplane or hit a patch of ice and lose control of the vehicle.
  • Leave enough stopping room between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Even if you own an all-wheel drive vehicle you still need to give yourself adequate time for stopping. 4×4 vehicles are heavier than passenger vehicles and actually may take longer to stop.
  • Take it slow and wear your seat belt.
  • If you get into accident-stay calm, try to pull your vehicle off to the side of the road, and dial 911.
  • Be mindful of the maintenance vehicles and snow plows. Keep a distance of at least 200 feet and remember that just because you can see them-does not mean that they can see you.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has some helpful tips to keep in mind when sharing the road with snow plows. Click here for more information.

Keep these helpful winter driving safety tips in mind to get you through this New England winter safely!