Okay. For those of you who are late to the party, I thought I would throw out a few tips for safe Winter Driving.
- Use your headlights. You may not think you need them, but the other drivers on the road, pedestrians, stray pets, albino deer, and some low-flying aircraft will appreciate being able to see you.
- Brush the snow and ice off of your vehicle. Make sure your headlights and taillights are not covered in ice or snow so we can actually see them when you turn them on.
- Check your windshield wipers, and do the dirty job of removing built-up ice from your blades so they can actually wipe your windshield clear when you need them.
- Wear your seat belt. No joke. If I see you out there without your seat belt, I’ma hunt you down and strap you in with duct tape. And then I’ma call the police and report you.
- Did I mention your headlights? Turn them on. Even if you have running lights that turn on whenever the car is running, turn on your lights so we get to see your backside, too. Nothing sucks like ramming into the car in front of you in blizzard conditions because you couldn’t see them–except, of course, being the car that gets rammed into because we couldn’t see your taillights.
- If your cell phone rings, for the love of Pete, do not answer it. No talking on the phone, no texting, no snapping photos of the car in the ditch.
- Prepare a Survival Kit, just in case you find yourself in blizzard conditions and stopped. And a side note–check your flashlight batteries every now and again. Wouldn’t hurt to carry an extra set of batteries, seeing how they hate the cold.
- Take your time. This isn’t NASCAR. Give yourself plenty of time to stop, plenty of space between yourself and the vehicle in front of you.
- Don’t assume that the other vehicles on the road are able to stop or start without trouble. Be gracious, and give others the space and time to safely maneuver however they need to.
- And this cannot be overstated: TURN ON YOUR HEADLIGHTS.
Believe it or not, even here in Upper Michigan, where it’s “always winter, never Christmas,” there are those who do not drive with the caution that winter conditions require. I counted 24 cars today in about a half-hour time frame who either had no headlights turned on or only had their running lights (no taillights) on. And that was in blizzard conditions!
Be safe. Please.