Tips for Winter Driving

Okay. For those of you who are late to the party, I thought I would throw out a few tips for safe Winter Driving.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

Pax Christi.

Sar

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6 thoughts on “Tips for Winter Driving

  1. AND if you don’t feel safe on the road, GET OFF…if you are overly cautious you can cause an accident just as quickly as someone who is being plain stupid. Is it really worth risking your life and someone else’s, think about every vehicle on the road, do NOT assume that every other vehicle is being as cautious and considerate as you.

  2. and just so everyone understands, driving with your lights on increases the awareness of your vehicle on the road, even on a bright sunny day. I drive with my headlights on EVERY time I drive.

  3. I didn’t used to always drive with my headlights on, Paco. It was actually you who told me once–you’d rather not need them and have them on, than need them and NOT have them on. Ever since then (when we were driving back from NC in my truck behind Kristin and her pink elephants), I always, always, always drive with my headlights turned on. Yes, you converted me, and now I’m your greatest Evangelist. I preach at every car I see driving without headlights.

    And yes, good point about being overly-cautious and not feeling safe. If you don’t feel you can drive in the conditions you’re in, you need to not be driving.

  4. And if there’s an emergency worker on the side of the road, please be careful, I do not enjoy jumping out of the way when cars decide it’s ok to get 2 inches from me even though the lane is closed temporarily. I’m sorry you’re in a hurry, but there has already been an accident, we don’t need another to clean up.

  5. Right on, Sarah(-h). Plus, if they run over the emergency workers on the side of the road, who will clean up the mess they make by running you over? Hmmm. Really, though…respect your emergency response workers. Give them the space and safety they need to do their job.

  6. headlights are very important…I ALWAYS drive with my headlights on. If for nothing else, so those pink elephants see me coming and stay off teh roads! very important….very important indeed. always always drive with headlights on, alwaysalways!

    and ya know, it works, because i’ve never hit a pink elephant! ;)

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