The Do’s & Don’ts of Winter Driving

Winter driving is simply a fact of life in New England. That is NOT to say that winter driving is simple.Do's & Don'ts of Winter Driving; TJ Woods Insurance Agency; Worcester, MA It isn’t. However, with some practice and some know-how, anyone can become a better winter driver.

Winter driving safety is especially important to instill in new drivers. With the next snowfall, take your young driver out to a large vacant parking lot and have them practice their winter driving skills by taking turns at different speeds and angles and then hitting the brakes with various amounts of pressure and speed. This will not only give them a feel for how their vehicle handles in the snow, but it’s also a good reality check for the seriousness of due diligence in winter driving.

Here in Worcester, Massachusetts, winter driving is not something we take for granted. Here, some do’s and don’ts we recommend that you keep in mind when driving in the winter.

  • It takes 3 to 12 times longer to stop on snow. Give yourself extra space and time. Do not tailgate.
  • Bridges and overpasses freeze before the rest of the roads, so use extreme caution driving over them in the winter.
  • Wet, icy or snowy roads require slower winter driving. Particularly when taking corners. Drive slowly but do not brake while in the turn.
  • Defensive driving is perhaps never as important as it is when winter driving. As you approach intersections, be prepared to possibly encounter a vehicle unable to make the stop.
  • Pumping the brakes will help to avoid brake lock-up and skidding, but is not required for anti-lock brakes.
  • Driving in the winter requires paying more attention to the gas levels in your vehicle. For one, you do not want to risk freezing your fuel lines. For another, you want to have enough gas to run your heater and keep warm in the event you become stuck in a winter storm.
  • Do not overreact if you hit a patch of ice. Use CPR: correct, pause, recover. Correct the slide by steering into it. Then pause to stop the lateral movement. Finally recover by steering the car in the direction you wish to go. Skidding on ice is possibly the scariest part of winter driving, but understanding the CPR principles will allow you to stay calm.
  • Is it worth your while to put winter tires on your car? Only if you want your winter driving escapades to take place more safely. Winter tires grip the road better, and, even when partially worn out, they still grip better than all-season tires.
  • Winter driving requires that you pay more attention to your tire pressure, which decreases in colder temperatures.
  • Avoid unnecessary lane changes.
  • Unfortunately, winter driving is sometimes not the best idea and you may find yourself stranded on the road. If this is the case, be sure to keep the snow cleared away from your tailpipe so you can run the heat periodically to stay warm.
  • A quick cheat for winter driving during a snow storm is to slow down and follow the tire tracks of trucks.
  • If stuck in the snow, try shoveling yourself out before revving the gas excessively and digging yourself deeper.

The above do’s and don’ts of winter driving will go a long way toward keeping you safe when on the road. While driving on the roads this winter, remember that winter driving also requires regular refills of windshield wiper fluid, anti-freeze and replacement of wiper blades.

Because safety is our number one concern at TJ Woods Insurance Agency, we not only want you to heed this winter driving advice, but also keep in mind that the best safety tip is to stay off of the roads during inclement weather when at all possible.

Are you in the market for a new auto insurance policy? Or are you looking for a second opinion on rates? Contact the insurance agents at TJ Woods. We will happily sit with you for a free consultation.