Winter temps are here and that means potentially dangerous driving conditions. Icy roads, snow, freezing rain, potholes, limited visibility – these issues and more can increase the potential for accidents. It’s important to drive defensively in the winter to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Potential winter problems
Whoever made up the phrase “as changeable as the weather” must have had Mid-Atlantic winters in mind. Warm spells followed by cold snaps and constant freezing and thawing make it difficult to know what to expect from one day to the next. This causes a wide array of problems.
Road conditions can deteriorate quickly due to the frequent temperature changes, causing dangerous potholes that can not only damage cars but also cause accidents as people swerve to miss the pothole and hit another car instead. Decreased visibility and roads insufficiently cleared of ice or snow can cause hazardous driving conditions, and not everyone knows how to drive safely in snow.
Cold weather puts a significant drain on the battery; roads are hard on tires; front ends can get out of alignment from potholes; windshield wipers can freeze to the windshield and then tear when they are turned on – the list goes on and on.
Even if you do everything right, there are other drivers on the road who don’t. This is especially true around the holidays when people often drink and drive.
Limiting your risk
These tips can get you started on thinking about ways to keep yourself safe when driving in the winter. If you have any young drivers in your home, we recommend going over these tips with them as a starting point for a conversation about safe driving:
- The obvious way to limit your risk is to stay off the roads when conditions are bad, especially if you don’t really have to be out and about.
- Take care of your car. Inspect your tires regularly, make sure you have sufficient antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid with de-icer, and keep windshield wipers free of ice. Keep your tank at least half-full so you don’t have to worry about running out of gas if stuck in traffic. Consider a tune-up before the winter sets in so you know your car is in good repair.
- Drive defensively. Keep your distance from the cars around you. Slow down so you can control the car better if it starts to glide and you have more time to react if you see a pothole. Keep your headlights on so other drivers will notice you.
- Avoid distractions. Do not use your phone or any other technology while driving and avoid other distractions, such as loud music, lively distracting discussions, or putting on gloves while driving.
- Take a hazardous-condition driving course. This is a great idea for younger drivers, but older drivers as well. The AARP offers a defensive driving course for seniors.
Do you have the right coverage for winter?
What do you do in the winter? Do you pack up and move to warmer climates? In that case, you may be able to lower your coverage during the winter, if you leave your car up north or store your car during colder months.
At Gannon Insurance, it’s important to us that you have the right coverage for your particular needs. We can review everything with you, then recommend any seasonal changes you may want to make. At the same time, we’ll look for any discounts that are available to you, in order to keep your premiums within your budget.
Give us a call today at (215) 891-9990 to help keep you, your loved ones, and your vehicles safer in winter.