Drivers frequently overestimate their own skill levels. This common human tendency is particularly concerning during times when risk on the road is higher than usual. Winter weather can be incredibly challenging for even the most experienced and skilled motorists. It is easy to forget the most important aspects of safe winter driving in between winters.
Drivers headed out during the coldest months of the year can protect themselves from the risk of severe injury incurred during a preventable crash by avoiding some of the most common winter driving mistakes that motorists tend to make at this time of year.
Rushing on the way to work
No matter how hard meteorologists try to provide accurate insight into the next day’s weather, everyone has experienced one of those surprise snowfalls. They wake up and realize that their commute to work could take far longer than usual. Getting up extra early during the coldest days of the year can give people time to get to work without rushing if the roads are icy or snowy.
Maintaining the same driving habits
The second crucial mistake on winter roads is the failure to change one’s traffic conduct to reflect the road conditions. Frozen streets are difficult to drive on safely. Motorists may need to reduce how fast they drive and increase how much space they leave between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them. By driving a bit slower and increasing their stopping distance, drivers can reduce the chances that they could lose control of their vehicles and cause a crash. Increased stopping distances can also protect people on highways or interstates during snowy weather by giving them a chance to avoid a multi-vehicle collision.
Failing to check and maintain their vehicle
Even those who consistently follow best practices in traffic could still be at risk of a collision when roads are particularly bad. Not everyone makes safety a priority, and sometimes weather conditions create situations where unprepared drivers cause major collisions. Therefore, having warm clothing, emergency flares, blankets and other key equipment in vehicles can be an important means of protecting oneself and loved ones in the event of a collision. Proper vehicle maintenance can be very important to one’s ability to respond appropriately to dangerous traffic conditions. Ensuring proper tire inflation, brake function and wiper operation is important for those driving in winter weather conditions.
Those who make safety a top priority whenever they drive, especially in the winter, have a better chance of reaching their destination without incident. Learning from the mistakes of others can help people maximize their safety on the winter roads.