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5 Safety Tips for Winter Driving

Even in the warmer climates of the South, winter driving conditions can become quite dangerous. In order to protect your car, your passengers, and other drivers on the road, take a few minutes to learn about some essential winter driving safety tips.

Gear up for frosty temperatures and icy roads with these winter driving safety tips from the Atlanta legal team at Kaplan & Lukowski.

1. Check Your Tires for Winter

It is always a good idea to keep an eye on your tire pressure, but it is essential in the winter. Air contracts when it cools, meaning that your tires will lose pressure as temperatures drop. A decrease in tire pressure can negatively impact the steering and control you have over your vehicle, which is crucial in wintry conditions.

You should also carefully monitor the tread on your tires. As roads become slippery with ice, snow, wet leaves, and slush, your tires need to be able to perform at their peak. One easy way to check tire pressure is called the “Penny Test.” To perform the test, insert a penny into the tread of your tire with Abraham Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can still see Lincoln’s head, your tire tread is dangerously low, and it is time to purchase new ones.

2. Keep Windshield Wipers in Good Condition

Properly functioning windshield wipers are essential for safe winter driving. Ensure that your windshield wiper fluid is made to perform in below-freezing temperatures. Your local mechanic should be able to recommend a quality brand that will last you through the winter.

Additionally, remember to turn your windshield wipers off before shutting off your car. If windshield wipers are left on, they will likely freeze and stick to the windshield, making them difficult to use when you turn your vehicle back on.

3. Keep Gas Tank Close to Full in Winter

Winter is a dangerous time to let your fuel gauge dip close to empty. In the event that you get stuck in a snowy, below-freezing situation, your engine is an essential source of warmth and safety. Keep your gas tank more than half full throughout the winter to be prepared in the event of an emergency.

4. Keep Winter Safety Supplies Handy

You probably already have certain supplies that you use on a regular basis, like an ice scraper for your windshield, but it is also important to keep emergency supplies in your vehicle. In addition to an ice scraper, keep a shovel and a bag of sand in your car to help increase traction in case you get stuck.

Keeping a blanket, extra boots and a pair of warm gloves is also wise. To ensure safe visibility, you could also keep extra windshield wiper fluid handy. Winter is unpredictable, and keeping extra supplies on hand is a smart way to keep yourself safe in wintry driving situations.

5. Winter Driving Safety—Slow and Steady

If you normally follow the 3-second rule to determine how much space you should leave between your vehicle and the car in front of you, increase that amount to 5-6 seconds in icy or snowy road conditions.

In addition to leaving extra space between your car and other vehicles, drive slowly and carefully, using inertia to help you climb hills.

Be Mindful of Car Maintenance This Winter

In general, it is a good idea to have your car checked by a mechanic before wintry conditions become serious. Batteries lose power during colder months, so ensure that your battery and charging system are working properly. Take care of any minor fixes now to ensure that they don’t become major issues when the temperatures drop.

For more on driver safety, or for auto accident legal counsel in Georgia, please contact the expert auto accident attorneys at Kaplan & Lukowksi, LLP.