Winter weather introduces unique challenges that require careful consideration. Reduced visibility, shorter daylight hours, and cold temperatures impact vehicle performance. Different precipitation types, such as snow, sleet, and freezing rain, affect road conditions differently. In areas that get a lot of snow and ice, additional preparations can help make a trip safer and can help motorists deal with an emergency.
Dahl Consulting (DAHL) prioritizes the health and safety of our employees, clients, and workforce. In this article, we will cover the hazards of winter driving and some safety tips to help you navigate the roads this winter.
The Hazards of Winter Driving
Winter driving poses significant hazards, leading to a notable increase in accidents and fatalities each year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), winter-related accidents account for a substantial portion of annual traffic incidents. Statistics reveal that, on average, over 1,300 fatalities and more than 116,000 injuries occur annually due to adverse winter weather conditions. The combination of snow, ice, reduced visibility, and slippery roads creates a challenging environment for drivers. These hazards underscore the critical importance of adopting safe winter driving practices and being adequately prepared to mitigate the risks associated with inclement weather. By understanding the gravity of the situation and adhering to precautionary measures, drivers can contribute to reducing the toll of winter-related accidents on the roads.
Tips for Safe Winter Driving
If you think you may be heading into snow or bad winter weather, remember the two Ps of Safe Winter Driving: PREPARE for the trip and PREVENT crashes. The following tips in each of these categories can help to keep you and your loved ones safe when traveling this winter.
Prepare for the Trip
- Avoid driving when you’re fatigued. Get the proper amount of rest before taking on winter driving.
- Slow down in snow and icy conditions. Starting and turning slowly is key to preventing slipping. Remember that bridges and overpasses may freeze before the regular travel lanes of a roadway.
- Watch out for black ice. These areas of the roadway appear black and shiny and are where your vehicle can suddenly lose traction. Slow down in these areas and keep your foot off the brakes.
- Plan your route. Allow plenty of travel time (check the weather and leave early if necessary), be familiar with the directions, and let others know your route and arrival time.
- Maintain your vehicle. Check the battery, tire tread/pressure, and windshield wipers; keep your windows clear, pour no-freeze washer fluid into the reservoir, and check your antifreeze level.
- Have key items on hand: a flashlight, jumper cables, abrasive material (sand, kitty litter, even floor mats), shovel, snow brush, ice scraper, warning devices (like flares), and blankets should be packed in your vehicle. For long trips, add food, water, and medication…and make sure that your cell phone has a full charge.
- Stopped or stalled? Stay in your car, don’t overexert, put bright markers on your antenna or windows, and shine your dome light. If you run your car, clear the exhaust pipe first and run it just enough to stay warm.
- Always wear your seatbelt, even on short trips.
- Slow down and increase your distance between vehicles.
- Keep your eyes open for pedestrians on the road.
- Do not use cruise control on slippery surfaces.
- If you plan to drink, designate a sober driver.
- Stay home if you don’t have to go out. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can.
DAHL cares about the safety of those we have the pleasure of working with, so we hope that this article has been informative and that you feel better prepared for safely navigating winter road conditions this season.
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