Winter weather, with its challenging mix of snow, sleet, and ice, often leads to dangerous road conditions. In 2021, there were 395 fatal crashes and about 22,325 injury crashes under snowy or sleety weather conditions in the U.S. Being well-prepared, both in terms of personal readiness and vehicle maintenance is essential for safe winter driving.
Driving in Winter Weather: The Basics
Navigating snowy and icy roads safely requires a change in normal driving habits. Here are some basic tips to keep in mind:
Slow Down and Maintain Distance
The risk of losing control on slick surfaces is high. In 2021, around 121,156 crashes occurred in snowy or sleety conditions. Slow down and increase your following distance for safety.
Snow Plows: Give Them Space
Snow plows have a unique way of operating. Stay at a safe distance and pass with caution.
What to Do in an Emergency
Winter roads can be unpredictable, and emergencies can occur. Here’s how to stay safe:
Stay Safe and Visible
- Stay with your vehicle.
- Use bright markers and keep the dome light on.
- Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by keeping the exhaust pipe clear and using the heater sparingly.
Vehicle Maintenance Tips
Proper vehicle maintenance is crucial for safe winter driving. Here are some key areas to focus on:
- Regularly check tire pressure as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Inspect tires for wear and damage.
- Consider using snow tires and review safety ratings on NHTSA’s Tires page.
- Avoid bulky coats on children in car seats. Use thin, warm layers instead.
Batteries and Safety Technologies
- Check your battery and charging system.
- Understand and utilize your vehicle’s safety features, like antilock brake systems.
Floor Mats and Vehicle Checks
- Use proper floor mats and check their fit.
- Ensure lights and windshield wipers are in good condition.
- Maintain the coolant system.
Prepare for Your Journey
Being prepared for a winter journey can make all the difference. Here’s what to consider:
Carry a snow shovel, ice scraper, jumper cables, blankets, and a charged cell phone.
Keep your gas tank nearly full, and for electric vehicles, ensure the battery is well charged.
Check weather and traffic updates, and inform others of your travel plans.
Safety is a year-round concern, not just in winter. Here’s how to stay safe:
Use NHTSA’s Recalls Look-up Tool for your vehicle’s safety status.
Safe Driving Practices
- Avoid distractions.
- Adhere to speed limits.
- Drive sober and always wear a seat belt.
Need Assistance on the Oregon Coast? Call Mast Brothers Towing!
For those times when winter conditions get the better of your journey, Mast Brothers Towing is here to help. Whether you need a tow after a slide-off, assistance with a flat tire, or help during a vehicle breakdown, we’re just a call away. Our experienced team is equipped to handle the challenges of winter roads, providing fast, reliable, and safe towing services along the Oregon Coast.
In need of roadside assistance? Don’t hesitate to call Mast Brothers Towing – your trusted partner on the road, whatever the weather!
Stay safe and prepared this winter, and remember, Mast Brothers Towing is always ready to assist you on the Oregon Coast.