We all know the weather here in Raleigh, NC can be unpredictable; one day it’s 65 and sunny and the next day it’s 22 degrees with snow and ice. Are you and your vehicle properly prepared for the unpredictable weather? The sudden fluctuation can make driving in the winter pretty tricky, especially when inclement weather hits. Whether you’re planning to travel north where the winter weather is heavier or just trying to make sure you’re prepared for those sudden snow storms in town, we’re here to help you make it safely through the winter with 10 Tips for Safe Driving in Any Winter Condition.
1 – Check the weather before leaving home
This is a smart thing to do any time of year, but it’s extra important during the winter months. If you know what to expect throughout the day, you can make sure you have everything you need. Some days the weather is comfortable, bright, and sunny in morning, but by the time you’re heading back home after a long day at work, it’s cold, dark, and the roads are slick. Know what to expect and plan accordingly.
2 – Do a quick vehicle check
Before you leave home, make sure your heaters, headlights, and windshield wipers are working properly. It’s also a good idea to regularly check all fluid levels, including oil, antifreeze, and washer fluid to optimize your vehicle’s performance and safety.
3 – Monitor your tires
As always, it’s important to monitor your tire pressure and tread. This may be even more important during winter driving conditions. Properly inflated tires will not only ensure you’re getting better gas mileage on your trips, they’ll provide you with better traction and movement while driving. If your TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) light comes on, take action right away to ensure your safety. And don’t be afraid to ask for the help of a Quail Corners Auto Care expert, we want to make sure you’re safe all year round.
4 – Keep your gas tank at least half full
Even with today’s weather technology, sometimes the unexpected happens. Temperatures drop below the expected range and adverse weather strikes with little warning. We recommend keeping your gas tank at least half full in the winter so you have plenty of fuel to keep your car warm should you get stranded on the road.
5 – Accelerate and decelerate slowly
In slick conditions like ice and snow, you never know where patches of ice are on the roads. Accelerating and decelerating slowly can help prevent accidents and damage to your vehicle, and it can give you extra time to react in slick conditions.
6 – Brake Carefully
While you may feel comfortable driving in all winter conditions, it’s always wise to take extra care while braking. If your tires can’t get enough tractions, your vehicle may slide more than you anticipated. Be sure to give yourself plenty of space to brake. It’s also important to be aware of how your brakes usually operate. If you feel like they’re not working as well as they should, bring them into the shop right away so we can make sure everything is working properly.
7 – Drive Slowly
Even if you’re a highly experienced driver, slowing down during winter conditions is always a good idea. There’s no way to know exactly how your vehicle will react in every situation, so slowing your speeds during colder weather (even when there’s only a little snow) is the best way to help prevent accidents.
8 – Properly remove snow from your vehicle
When unexpected snow hits overnight and you’re in a rush to get to work on time, be sure to take the time to properly remove the snow from your vehicle before heading out. This includes brushing it away from the windows, headlights, hood, and roof of your vehicle. It may seem like removing the snow from the roof is an unnecessary step, but if it slides off onto your windshield while driving, your windshield wipers may not be strong or quick enough to safely remove the snow. Snow from the roof of your vehicle can also fly backwards, hitting vehicles behind you and obstructing their view. Make it a point to take a few extra minutes to do this, even when you’re in a rush.
9 – Don’t use cruise control
While cruise control is a huge convenience when it comes to maintaining speed, it’s a major inconvenience when it comes to safe driving in the winter. If your car skids on ice or begins to hydroplane, cruise control will make your vehicle accelerate because it’s trying to maintain that constant speed, and this could cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
10 – Have your battery checked
There’s nothing worse than a car that refuses to start, leaving you stranded in the cold. Before bad weather hits, it’s a good idea to have your battery tested and make sure it’s in good condition.
The best thing to remember when driving in winter conditions is that no amount of experience can prepare you for every situation. Even if you’re confident in your driving skills, be sure to slow down and give yourself more time to reach your destination whenever there’s snow or ice. As the saying goes, “it’s better to be safe than sorry!”
Quail Corners Auto Care is always available to help you with all of your vehicle safety needs, whether you need an inspection, new tires, your battery checked, or any other maintenance service, we’ve got you covered. Drive safe this winter, and remember…those hot summer days will be back before we know it!