By Nathan Erb on December 17, 2013 at 10:10 AM
Posted in: Safety
Much of the country is already experiencing cold temperatures and winter storms – we certainly are in the Washington, D.C., area – and the challenging driving conditions they bring. Preparation and knowing what to do in case of an emergency can help you stay safe even in the worst climates. Heated seats don’t hurt, either.
- Make sure your vehicle is in good condition. You (or your mechanic) should check tire pressure and wear, battery charge, fluid levels and all belts and hoses. A well-maintained car will be less likely to fail when the temperatures drop.
- Keep a “survival kit” in your car in case of emergency. It should include a flashlight, ice scraper and snow brush, small shovel, sand or kitty litter, cell phone and charger, blankets and warm clothes, matches, road flares and non-perishable food.
- Visibility is crucial, so make sure your wipers are working, the wiper blades are in good condition and your washer fluid is full before driving on salt-covered, slushy roads.
- Is your car covered in snow and ice? Start your car and turn on the front and rear defrosters to help soften the frozen stuff. It will also help warm up your car while you work to clean it off – in some jurisdictions, failing to clean off your car can be illegal. And don’t forget the roof; ice flying off of your car on the highway can be a hazard to other drivers.
- If your car skids, follow these steps:
- Don’t panic.
- Don’t slam on the brakes.
- Take your foot off the gas.
- Steer your car in the direction you’re skidding until you regain control.
- Stuck? Avoid the temptation to spin your wheels; you’ll only dig yourself into a deeper hole. Clear the snow behind and in front of all four tires, and liberally spread sand or kitty litter in front of and behind the drive wheels. To get moving, drive in as straight a line as possible to minimize resistance.
Check out more safety tips at geico.com! And don’t forget to share your winter driving tips in the comments.