At L.D. Dermody Insurance Brokers we want to make sure that everyone has a safe and wonderful holiday season. We have accumulated a number of safety tips related to winter driving. Some advance preparation and common sense can go a long way towards helping prevent a costly disaster.
Prepare your vehicle for the winter roads. It's highly recommended that you install four matching winter tires on your car. All tires have a temperature range they like to work in to give you their best performance. Winter tires are designed for the colder weather and provide more grip with temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius. Matching tires also helps to improve the vehicles handling rather than mixing different tires with different treads. Make sure your vehicle is tuned up and ready for winter's coldest temperatures. Check the battery, ignition system, lights and brakes to make sure that everything is working as it should.
Pack an emergency kit. You never know when you will be caught in a blizzard. Falling, blowing and drifting snow can play havoc with the best of plans. Recommended items to keep in your car are:
sand or kitty litter
warning light, road flares or reflectors
extra clothing and footwear
emergency food pack
First aid kit
matches and a “survival” candle in a deep can (to warm hands, heat a drink or use as an emergency light)
extra windshield washer fluid
Learn and practice winter driving techniques before you need them. Not all vehicles respond in the same way to icy, slippery roads. Learn how to handle your vehicle in all types of weather. Avoid using overdrive or cruise control in extreme weather and slow down. Keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front. Avoid situations where you may have to brake suddenly on slippery surfaces.
Plan your trip, check road and weather conditions. It’s always best to avoid driving at all in severe weather conditions. If your trip cannot be delayed, plan extra time to get to your destination. If you are travelling a long distance, plan your route ahead of time. Let someone know of your destination and expected time of arrival. Check local weather reports before you leave the house and travel with a fully charged cell phone.
Remove all snow from your vehicle before each trip. Take a few extra minutes to clear your vehicle of snow and ice and don't leave it piled on your roof as it could fall off and cause the vehicle behind you to have an accident. Visibility is important so clear all windows of snow and wait for them to be defrosted.
Don't drink and drive. As much as this is said every year there are people that still do. A taxi can be expensive but a fraction of the cost and repercussions of drinking and driving.
Distracted Driving. Winter driving demands extra attention and concentration. Stay alert, keeping your focus on the road and on other vehicles at all times. Don’t use mobile devices while driving. If taking medication for a cold or flu have someone else drive. The holidays can be tiring so make sure you’re well rested before getting behind the wheel.
In An Emergency. If you become stuck or stranded in severe weather, stay with your vehicle for warmth and safety until conditions improve or help arrives. Think of your own safety before getting out your vehicle. If possible, use the door away from traffic. Slightly open a window for ventilation. Run your motor sparingly. Use your emergency flashers.
Wherever you’re heading, we wish you safe driving during this holiday season!