Winter is here and it can be a very scary time on the roads for many; especially if you’re driving to and from work in risky weather conditions. We strongly advise practicing some extra precautions to stay safe on the roads at all times and limit the chances of being in or causing an accident. Read on for our 5 safety tips for driving in winter.
Tip 1: Get your car checked
Before the bad weather even hits, get your car serviced and checked out thoroughly! Lights, battery, tires, fuel and brakes; these are all extremely essential things you MUST have checked to ensure your car is functioning properly and ready to handle the weather. Also, make sure your screen wipers are working and ensure you have your fuel tank at least half full at all times.
Tip 2: Slow Down
If you’re driving in hazardous weather or are due to be driving in heavy rain, heavy wind or possibly even snow, SLOW DOWN! Check the weather report in advance – if you have to be somewhere on time, leave earlier than usual and drive slowly. In heavy rain or snow, keep as much distance between you and the car in front of you as possible. Wet and slippery roads make it much harder to stop, so slow down gradually and if you can, do not pull the brake. Idle at a slow pace and look out for deep puddles or potholes.
Tip 3: Stay Alert
Watch the road no matter what. Pay attention to the roads and cars ahead, look out for any obstructions in the road, drive carefully and mindfully. If you’re traveling long distance you must stop for a break and switch driving duty with someone if you can. If you are alone, just take a few minutes to stretch, close your eyes and relax. Always drive sober and ignore your cellphone. Which brings us to the very important next tip…
Tip 4: Turn off notifications
If you have mobile data on or WiFi, we strongly advise and plead that you turn off all app notifications until you are home or safe at your destination. According to a report by BusinessTech, 25% of road accidents in South Africa are caused by mobile phone distractions while driving. The report also shows that using your phone while driving increases your risk of getting into an accident by up to four times. Hands-free or not, turn off your cell notifications. It can wait until you are safely parked, as any minor distraction puts you at great risk, especially in hazardous weather.
Tip 5: Pack for emergencies
Whether you’re traveling a short distance or long distance, packing in case of emergency is extremely helpful and wise. Keep blankets, food, water, a phone charger and extra clothing in your car in case you break down in bad weather and might have to wait a couple of hours to get help. Also, have with you a brightly coloured cloth that you can attach to your car antennae or window to signal distress. Do not leave your vehicle and attempt to walk anywhere, rather wait until you can be assisted.
You should always take precautions on the road no matter the seasons. However, winter is especially dangerous as the roads are slippery and accidents happen a lot easier. And please, always buckle up your seat belts, no excuses. Follow our safety tips for driving in winter, and stay safe out there.