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24.11.2015 - 17:45

Snow on the Roads-5 Important Safety Tips for Winter Wonderland Driving

Tips for driving in the winter. When temperatures dip below freezing, excess moisture on the roadways can freeze, turning into ice.

Winter is a dangerous time of year for driving. Ice, slush and snow combine with cold temperatures and high winds to create a nasty cocktail of dangerous road conditions. So how does one keep from "trading paint" in such dangerous conditions? We've compiled a list of five simple safety tips every motorist should follow this winter.

 

Apply Less Pressure on the Brakes

Resist the temptation to slam on your brakes. This can cause your car to skid out of control. You especially don't want to slam on your brakes in the middle of a skid, as that can make the skid worse. Apply gentle pressure to your brakes, and in the event of a skid, remember to steer into the skid. This will allow your car to recover traction more easily.

 

Allow More Distance Between You and the Car in Front of You

When temperatures dip below freezing, excess moisture on the roadways can freeze, turning into ice. Black ice, or ice that can't easily be seen just by looking at the roadway (the surface of the ice is completely transparent, allowing the black road to be seen) can easily cause your car to skid or slide. Allowing extra distance between your car and the car in front of you can give you more time to slow down in the event that your car or the car in front of you skids out of control. The ideal following distance in icy road conditions is between four and five car lengths.

 

Use Low-Beam Headlights in Snowy Conditions

Be considerate to other drivers on the road that are going the opposite direction. High-beam headlights blind other drivers, and a blinded driver is a traffic accident just waiting to happen. Also, high-beam lights can reflect back at you, especially if it's foggy outside as well.

 

Keep Warm Blankets in the Trunk

If you're stuck in traffic, time is your enemy during the winter months. A person can easily contract Hypothermia and Frostbite in winter - both of which are extremely dangerous health conditions. Hypothermia results when a person's core temperature drops to dangerously low levels. (Mild Hypothermia occurs at 95 degrees Fahrenheit, and in severe cases, the body can reach as low as 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If prompt medical attention is not received at this point, the body will shut down completely, and the victim will die. Frostbite is a condition that is caused when blood supply (usually to the fingers, toes, and nose) is interrupted for an extended period of time, causing the affected skin tissues to freeze. Gangrene results in extreme cases, at which point the skin tissues become necrotic, and amputation of the affected area becomes necessary to prevent the damage from spreading. It should also be noted that people with certain health problems (Diabetes, Heart Disease, Peripheral Vascular Disease, etc.) are at much greater risk of developing these serious health conditions than healthy people, and special care should be taken to protect these people.

 

Slow Down

It sounds obvious, but many car crashes on icy roads occur because the driver at fault was driving too fast for their car to be able to stop in time. Remember to drive slowly, and allow extra driving time when you encounter dangerous road conditions. Sure it takes extra time to get to your destination, but is a faster commute really worth gambling away your life and the lives of others to you?

 

According to The Lucky Law Firm, car crashes claim over 400,000 lives every year. With that said, car crash fatalities are more likely to happen during the winter months, when snow and ice cover the roads. By practicing these basic safety tips, you can save not only your own life, but the lives of other motorists on the road as well.

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Driver: Meghan
Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. Meghan also enjoys researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure.
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