Whether it’s ice, snow or sleet, inclement weather can be the root of extremely hazardous road conditions. According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) snow was the cause of over 390 fatal crashes on the roadways in the U.S. during 2021 alone.
Preparing yourself and your vehicle for inclement weather in Kentucky should be a non-negotiable undertaking if the statistics are anything to go by.
Equip your vehicle for winter conditions
Before you hit the winter roads, do your best to ensure your vehicle is ready to tackle the season’s challenges. Start by checking your tires – they are your first line of defense against slippery roads. Confirm they have reliable tread depth and are properly inflated. Consider switching to winter tires for enhanced traction.
Don’t forget to inspect your brakes, battery and wiper blades. Inclement weather can be harsh on your vehicle, so it’s crucial to have all components in top condition. Remember to keep your windshield washer fluid reservoir filled with a winter-grade solution to prevent it from freezing.
You should also create an emergency kit for your car, including items like:
- A blanket
- Extra clothing
- Non-perishable snacks
- A first-aid kit
In case of a breakdown, having these essentials available can make a world of difference to your safety and well-being.
Stay in your vehicle in case of an emergency
If you get stalled in wintery weather, be mindful of yourself, your vehicle and your surroundings. While waiting to return to the road, stay inside your vehicle instead of overexerting yourself. Also, remember to make your vehicle visible by turning your interior dome light on and brightly marking your windows and antenna. You’ll also want to minimize any chances of carbon monoxide poisoning by running the vehicle sporadically and clearing any snow from your exhaust pipe.
Steer clear of snow plows
When driving in wintery weather, steer clear of snow plows because they overlap lanes, make wide turns, exit the road frequently and travel slowly. Whenever you find yourself behind a snow plow, maintain a safe following distance and observe caution when you pass it.
Adjust your driving habits
Adjusting your speed and driving habits is crucial when driving in winter conditions. Slow down and avoid tailgating to allow for longer stopping distances on icy roads. Avoid sudden movements, such as sharp turns or abrupt stops, when possible. This can prevent skidding. Suppose your vehicle is equipped with anti-lock brakes (ABS); in that case, learn how to use them effectively. Apply steady pressure to the brake pedal and let the ABS do its job. If you don’t have ABS, practice gentle and controlled braking to avoid skidding.
Navigating winter roads requires a combination of preparedness, caution and skill. You can better ensure safe and secure travels during the colder months by equipping your vehicle for winter conditions, adjusting your driving habits and understanding the challenges of icy roads.