Road Trip Safety

road trip safety

Memorial Day starts the most popular season for taking road trips. Whether you are traveling to see National Parks, historical sites, or visiting friends and family this summer, we want you to get there safe. There are some basic safety tips you can use every road trip to ensure you have a fun, safe time.

Be Prepared

Before you start off on your journey, make sure you have some basic preparations. The best place to start is with your vehicle and making sure everything is ready for a long car trip and functioning properly. Some things to check are:

  • Oil level
  • Tire pressure
  • All fluids
  • Headlights and signals
  • Brakes
  • Belts, caps, hoses, and filters

Another area of preparation should include emergency items for changing a spare tire like a spare tire and the necessary tools. Extra blankets, water bottles, and a little cash on hand are all good things to keep in your trunk. It is also a good idea to make sure you have your driver’s license.

Communicate Your Plans

An important way to stay safe is to make sure someone knows your travel plans. If you ever get into car crash, have car troubles, or get lost, someone will know how to find you. If possible, check in regularly too since many people do not get cellphone coverage their whole trip. This helps narrow down the possible places you could be if something happens. While making random stops is an exciting part of road trips, it is still possible while having a general map drawn up. Mapping out your route before leaving also helps avoid problems like road closures, construction, and toll roads. Keeping an extra charger with you to keep your phones charged and GPS running.

Do Not Drive Drowsy

Getting enough rest for a road trip is vital to staying awake and alert while driving. Drowsy driving is dangerous, claiming 795 lives in 2017. Too often, drivers want to push through their fatigue and get to their location. When tired, brains have impaired cognition and performance, similar to being drunk. 

Most drivers have their own tips and tricks for staying awake while driving, but here are some ideas.

  • Drink caffeine
  • Talk to a passenger in the car
  • Roll down the window
  • Listen to the radio

If none of these are working, pull off the road to a safe place and take a nap. 

Watch for Changes

When driving on unfamiliar roads, it is important to be extra watchful. Roads are generally the same, but there are small differences between states. Some examples are changing speed limits, interchanges, and road hazards. Having unexpected changes in roads or directions can increase your chances of getting into a crash. While drivers should always pay close attention to the road, it is especially important to be vigilant in an unknown area.

Small Steps Make a Big Difference

If you are getting ready to go on a road trip, these tips will help keep you safe. Road trips are a great way to vacation on your way to a vacation. It is important to make every trip memorable for the right reasons. Whether you are a new driver or an experienced driver, the amount of preparation put into the trip will help ensure you have a great trip.

Driving Tips to Improve Your Gas Mileage

tips to improve gas mileage image for 911 Driving School

Driving a car is convenient but can also be expensive. If you commute to work, drive around town constantly, or just like to take a lot of adventures in your car, the gas bills can build up quickly. An important piece of information for many car buyers is the gas mileage the vehicle gets on the freeway and around town. Having a vehicle that gets good gas mileage is important, but a lot of that is determined in the way it is driven. Here are some tips to improve the gas mileage of your car.

  1. Ease into starting. One of the most basic ways that mileage is improved is by slowly pushing on the gas when moving. Slamming on the gas when a light turns green or speeding while backing out of a parking space wastes gas, decreasing your gas mileage potential. Instead, slowly accelerate. 
  2. Braking suddenly. Just like speeding up burns up gas quickly, braking is a big waste of gas too. When a car is powered with gas just before braking quickly, it is wasted. Instead, slow down gradually and let the vehicle naturally decelerate before braking.
  3. Drive the speed limit. The faster a vehicle goes, the more drag it creates. Many freeways have been given speed limits that keep vehicles within the limit of optimum gas mileage. While each vehicle is going to have its own optimal driving speed, gas mileage in general begins to rapidly decrease after 50 mph.
  4. Choose routes without a lot of stop and go requirements. Constantly stopping and going in the vehicle will use up more gas than if the road is open. Some routes that may take away gas mileage potential include a lot of intersections, toll roads, and even construction routes. Plan routes using proper inputs on your GPS to help determine the best way to go.
  5. Use the right fuel. Car manufacturers test their vehicles to determine gas mileage with the most premium level of fuel. It helps improve the performance of the system and give more mileage potential. The best way to know what the ideal gasoline is for your car is to look it up in the owner’s manual that comes with the vehicle.
  6. Keep tires properly inflated. Each tire has a correct pressure that is recommended by the manufacturer. When there is not enough air in the tire, it increases the resistance on the ground, slowing the car down. Having enough contact with the ground and a good tread on the tires will help the vehicle roll more easily, giving the entire vehicle better gas mileage and extending the life of the tires.
  7. Do not idle. Whenever the vehicle is fully on, the engine is using up gasoline whether it is moving or not. Sitting with the car idling for long periods of time can use a lot of gas that does not contribute to gas mileage. Decrease idling time by turning off the vehicle while waiting when possible and avoid areas where there are traffic jams.
  8. Use Cruise Control. Whenever you are driving a long stretch of road, use the cruise control in the vehicle. It reduces the need for accelerating and braking too much and keeps your car running efficiently.

Using less gasoline is great for the earth but it is also great for your wallet. Saving a few dollars here and there on gas adds up quickly. Being mindful of small actions and taking care of a vehicle also leads to safer driving habits. When a driver understands these, they are more likely to be a responsible driver.

The Top 3 Most Dangerous Highways in America

most dangerous highways

Highways are some of the most common roads in the country, going through and between states. A research and analysis organization called Value Penguin took data from all the highways in America between 2010 and 2016 and determined which are the most dangerous. The three factors they considered in their rankings were fatalities per crash, percentage of fatal nonvehicle crashes, and fatal crashes per vehicles miles traveled per capita. From there, they found that these three highways were the most dangerous in America.

  1. US-93 Arizona. Between the specified years, there were only 70 fatal crashes with 90 fatalities. While this may seem low, compared to other highways, remember that there are more two other determining factors than just the number of fatalities. While the road is a popular route between Phoenix and Las Vegas, the most dangerous section was in Mohave County, Arizona.
  2. SR-9 Oklahoma. The second largest highway in the state, it stretches for 348 miles going east and west across Oklahoma. There were 50 crashes with 60 fatalities during the years examined and the most dangerous section was in Cleveland County, Oklahoma.
  3. US-160 Colorado. This highway starts in New Mexico and ends near the Kansas state border. It is known for the steep roads and multiple switchbacks, including a dangerous portion called Wolf Creek Pass. The most dangerous part is through La Plata County. There were 80 fatal crashes with 99 fatalities in these years.

Driving Safely

There are many driving tips that can help keep drivers safe on highways. Many of these go back to driving school basics, but reviewing them can help remind drivers that the most simple tips are often the best. Here are the best ways to stay safe on any highway.

  • Don’t drive distracted. Put your phone away, keep eating to a minimum, and limit conversations with passengers. Staying alert and attentive is the most important job of a driver.
  • Don’t drink and drive. It is never safe to operate a vehicle if you are not in top condition. Driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or some prescription medications can increase the dangerous conditions for any driver and the cars around them on the road.
  • Drive well-rested. Driving while drowsy is just as dangerous as driving while drunk. If you find yourself starting to get tired, switch drivers or pull off the road and take a nap.
  • Keep calm. Don’t engage in road rage. Keeping your aggressive driving to a minimum can help you stay levelheaded and safe. Don’t speed, tailgate, or do an angry gesture to another driver. If you find yourself getting upset, remove yourself from the situation by pulling off the road, doing calm breathing, or putting on calm music.

The most important tip of all is to make sure everyone in your vehicle is wearing a seatbelt. Sometimes there are circumstances you cannot control. Other vehicles might crash into you, there could be a slippery patch of road, or there is a problem with the car. If everyone is wearing their seatbelts, the likelihood of the crash being fatal decreases.

If you are interested in having teen drivers training courses that cover these safety tips and more, look at our programs. A great education can help provide a solid foundation for years of driving.

3 Ways to Safely Manage Tech While Driving

Managing Tech while Driving

Safety features for technology use is becoming a big focus for car makers. Distracted driving has become such a problem that safety features include lane drifting alerts, sonar alarms, and automatic braking systems to help avoid crashes. It does not take long for something bad to happen if you get distracted and take your eyes off the road. The most frequently mentioned distraction while driving is technology. Even though most drivers know they should not check a text while driving, many still rationalize it’s only for a second. Unfortunately, that is all it takes to crash. Here are three ways you can manage technology safely to be a responsible driver.

  1. Program before you go. One of the most common reasons drivers give for needing to use their phones while driving is for the GPS or maps. One of the best tactics for driving safely while using a maps app is to program the address into the app before driving. Do not wait to plug in the address until you are already on the road. Take the time to review the route and know what to expect. Having a general idea on the directions helps relieve some stress and can help you plan accordingly. Setting the app to vocalize directions can also help keep your attention on the road.
  2. Change your settings. Two great settings for driving are voice controls and “Do Not Disturb”. The voice controls are used for the phone. Many cars are equipped to have your phone sync in. With a press of a button on the steering wheel or saying a certain phrase out loud, you can ask your phone to call people or read your text messages to you.
    The other setting called “Do Not Disturb” allows your phone to still receive messages, phone calls, and alerts, but keeps them silent while turned on. Some phones can even send a message that you are driving and will get back to them once you arrive at your location. These controls can help keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. 
  3. Commit to never text while driving. It is easy to become comfortable while driving and multi-tasking helps people feel productive. Recommit to not texting while driving. Commit to staying focused on the road. Promise yourself that you will pull off the road if you need to send or read a text. If you have a passenger, ask them to remind you if you reach for your phone or have them respond to a text for you if it is important. The consequences for being distracted while driving are not worth it. 

Even though technology takes a lot of criticism for distracting driving, it also can help solve the problem. There is no question that technology has improved life and can improve safety too when used correctly. The responsibility for using technology wisely falls with each individual person. Whether you are a new driver or experienced one, when it comes to managing technology on the road safely, make the right choice to stay focused.

Parking Safely: Staying Safe in All Areas

When most drivers think of driving safely, they rarely picture parking lots. However, according to the National Safety Council, more than 50,000 crashes, with 60,000 injuries, happen every year in parking lots and garages. Since driving responsibly happens any time a driver is behind the wheel, here are some of the risks to watch out for in these spaces and how to avoid them.

Common Risks in Parking

Typically, parking lots and garages are areas where people drive slowly. This is because drivers are looking for spots, but there are also specific hazards, like cars pulling out of spots unexpectedly, more pedestrians around, and limited visibility. There are also drivers who don’t park in the stalls correctly, making it harder for other drivers to park near them. When parking lots or garages are full, people can get aggressive over parking spots too.

Another significant hazard is distracted driving and distracted parking. Unfortunately, many drivers feel a false sense of security when driving at slower speeds and sometimes having time to wait. The cellphone is a major distraction in parking lots and garages. A survey conducted by the National Safety Council about driving behaviors in parking lots and garages showed drivers saying they do these behaviors in parking areas:

  • Making phone calls (66%)
  • Putting information into a GPS (63%)
  • Texting (56%)
  • Using social media (52%)
  • Sending and receiving email (50%)
  • Taking pictures or watching videos (49%)

These distractions take a lot of concentration away from a driver’s attention on the road. Regardless of speed or location, it is always dangerous to be distracted behind the wheel. Even when waiting in line for parking, it is still important to pay attention.

Avoiding Dangers

Being aware of common dangers can help drivers be more vigilant at avoiding them. Staying self-aware of habits and behaviors is important to fixing them. Knowing what common problems are can also help watch out for other drivers’ behaviors too. Common tips for staying safe are taught in driver’s education courses, but are good to review:

  • Always watch oncoming traffic
  • Drive slowly
  • Watch for pedestrians, especially children who are shorter and less predictable
  • Don’t engage in road rage
  • Keep our phone put away until the car is in park
  • Never cut through a parking lot. Drive only in designated driving lanes

Other best practices for staying safe in parking lots and garages include parking correctly in the stall. When pulling into a spot, center the car in the stall. This helps provide adequate space for everyone in the vehicle to exit and enter safely, but it also gives other drivers enough space to park in the stalls on either side of your car. Don’t pull too far into the stall but do pull in as far as possible without crossing the line. This is important to keep driving lanes clear, provide more visibility to drivers, and to make it easier for cars to park around your vehicle.

Responsible drivers focus on being safe whenever the car is running. Be aware of your surroundings, anticipate other drivers’ moves, and don’t be in so much of a hurry that you risk the safety of yourself and others.

What You Should Know to Avoid Intersection Crashes

Avoid Intersection Crashes

Driving has many risks involved, but not all risks are created equal. Did you know that about 50% of crashes happen in an intersection, making it one of the most dangerous places to drive? Yet, so many drivers pass through intersections all the time and don’t ever have a second thought about it. When people know better, they tend to do better. Here are some ways you can stay safe in intersections.

Be Watchful

The biggest fault in most crashes is that people are not watching their surroundings well enough. In fact, 44.1% of intersection crashes are caused from inadequate surveillance of surroundings. If the intersection is run by road signs, like a two-way stop, four-way stop, or yield sign, it is important that every driver stops completely and looks each direction. Sometimes taking the same route every day or being in a hurry leads to drivers to become reckless and rush through.

At intersections where there is a light, drivers still need to be watching their surroundings. Pedestrians in the cross walk, people on bicycles or motorcycles, other drivers making a turn, or another driver slowing or stopping ahead of you can cause a crash. Approaching an intersection while watching in all directions is a great start to staying safe.

Avoid Speeding Through

In busy intersections of all varieties, views can be obstructed by other cars, trees, and buildings. This limits your ability to see pedestrians in the cross walk and people trying to turn. Even in an intersection with great visibility, you can’t always anticipate another driver’s moves correctly. Sometimes cars will take chances by turning without enough space or changing lanes abruptly. It just isn’t possible to always watch and plan for dangers. For these reasons, it is imperative to not speed through intersections. The faster the speed, the less time there is to react. 

Another part of speeding through intersections comes when there is a light turning red. Once the light has turned yellow, all vehicles are expected to clear the intersection. Since there are many intersections where a driver if waiting for traffic to stop before turning, it is extra dangerous to speed through. Instead, slow down and stop when the traffic light is yellow. On the other hand, when a light first turns green, slowly pull into the intersection. Other cars may still be clearing the intersection or even running a red light.

Use Correct Signaling

While anticipating another driver’s moves is a big part of driving safely, it is still important to let others know your intentions by using your signals. If you are planning on changing lanes, use your signal. If you are turning at an intersection, use your signal. If you are turning where there is a turn lane, move into the correct lane while signaling and keep it on until your turn is complete. When first turning on your signal, make sure you aren’t doing it too early, confusing and frustrating other drivers. Also don’t signal at the last minute or else drivers can’t plan for your actions. Remember that it isn’t smart (or legal) to change lanes in the middle of an intersection. 

Use Extra Caution

These tips are a great way to stay safe in intersections. While there will still be factors out of your control, knowing how to approach and drive through intersections can help keep you safer. Sharing your knowledge with a new driver or as a passenger can help spread safe practices too.

The Top 3 Reasons of Advanced Driver Training

Advanced driver Training

Driver’s education is an important part of learning to drive safely. There are different styles of training programs available, but many people are choosing to take advanced driver training courses. While regular driving classes work to educate and teach the laws, advanced driver training classes go above and beyond by preparing drivers to be proactive with great driving techniques. These classes are great for several reasons, but here are the top three reasons you should consider taking an advanced driver training course.

Reason #1: Save Money

When new drivers take an advanced driver training class, some insurance companies will offer a lower monthly payment. Because drivers are learning more safety skills, they are generally more prepared to drive in regular traffic. There are even some insurance companies that offer this lower rate to adults when they take an adult driving class. It really speaks to the quality of these classes.

Another way drivers can save money through these classes is in paying less for car repairs. When drivers are navigating the roads more safely and anticipating the moves other drivers will make in traffic, they generally have less car accidents. Less car crashes means less money spent in repairing car body damage, traffic tickets, and increasing insurance premiums. 

Reason #2: Safety

For new teenage drivers, safety is a big concern for parents. Having their children prepared to drive safely is something all parents want for their children. Concern for safety on the roads is not limited to parents though; spouses, children, and friends all want their loved ones protected too. Learning to drive defensively in an advanced driver’s training class can give drivers the skills needed to stay safe.

Another reason that safety is higher from these training courses is because it decreases the amount of errors made on the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said that more than 90% of car crashes are caused from basic driver errors. This means human behavior and performance is the key factor in these crashes. By shining a light on these errors and teaching how to correct them, these mistakes can decrease. Couple that with teaching how to anticipate crashes or potentially dangerous situations and drivers stay safer on the road.

Reason #3: More Confidence Behind the Wheel

The key to confidence is knowledge. When drivers of any age are confident behind the wheel, they will drive safely. Paying attention to the small details of driving is something that takes a regular driving course to an extraordinary course. Investing time and education into a skill as basic as driving helps drivers be more prepared for a variety of situations on the road.

While many commercials say that having the best technology in the car is what makes a driver safest, that just isn’t true. The biggest difference in driving skills comes from having a thorough education with advanced driving instruction. These classes provide opportunities for students to practice responding to situations that require split-second decisions and maneuvering, keeping them and everyone else on the road safer.

Examining the Impact of Distracted Driving

Distracted DrivingOne of the biggest threats on the road today is drivers being distracted. Thousands are injured every year, yet this is a problem that many drivers don’t take seriously enough. The official definition of distracted driving by the NHTSA is doing any kind of non-driving activity behind the wheel of a vehicle. While a cellphone gets the most attention for distracting drivers, there are many more culprits that take the attention of a driver.

The Categories of Distraction

There are three main categories that distractions fall into:

  • Visual: it takes your eyes off the road
  • Manual: it takes your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive: it takes your mind off driving

Some of the most common distractions include eating and drinking, fiddling with the dashboard, picking up dropped items, and engaging in conversation with passengers or on the cellphone. Many distractions fall into more than one category, increasing the danger to others on the road.

Statistics of Distracted Driving

Every driver is guilty of being distracted behind the wheel. Being mindful and attentive takes extra effort, but it is worth avoiding some of the terrible consequences that come from being distracted. Here are some statistics involving distracted driving.

The number one cause of car crashes is distracted driving. With more than 2.5 million people involved in a car crashes annually, some estimate that distracted driving is responsible for injuring up to 1,000 people each day.

Multitasking requires the brain to focus on one thing, switching between tasks quickly. The more you do while driving, the less you can focus on the road. If it is a cellphone you’re glancing at, even for a quick second or two, it takes up to 13 seconds to completely refocus on your surroundings. Eye activity also slows down during multi-tasking. During these times of focusing and refocusing, the brain isn’t fully focused on driving. 

A vehicle traveling 30 miles per hour goes approximately 44 feet per second. Taking your eyes off the road for even 3 seconds means the car goes 132 feet without someone actively controlling it. There are countless problems that can happen during this time like a car braking up ahead, another driver pulling into traffic ahead of you, a changing light or missed stop sign, or even a child running into the road. One study found almost 80 percent of crashes involved a driver not paying attention for the three seconds leading up to the collision.

Taking the same routes or driving in familiar surroundings cause a driver to feel comfortable and pay less attention to the road. Approximately 77 percent of car crashes occur less than 15 miles of a destination. Driving in auto-pilot mode is dangerous for any driver, so never let your guard down.

Consequences of Distracted Driving

Depending on the state you reside, there are varying consequences for driving distracted. To help emphasize the need for paying attention while driving, here are some steps states have taken to legislate change.

  • Almost every state has laws against texting and driving.
  • Some states have outlawed in-hand devices while others are working toward similar legislation.
  • Police officers are watching more vigilantly for drivers not paying attention to the road. They even have devices to see when a cellphone was last used to bust drivers using their phones.
  • Many states enforce some sort of graduated licensing laws that limit passengers in the car for new drivers.

Each of these laws come with varying fees and consequences. Insurance companies are also paying attention. If a driver is ticketed with one of these offenses, they can enforce their own consequences, including raising rates or not renewing a policy.

To keep everyone on the road around you safe, it is important to always pay attention while driving. This helps protect yourself, the other drivers, and any pedestrians in the area. Driver safety is an important part of drivers education and should be a focus for every veteran driver too. 

The Ugly Side of Aggressive Driving

Aggressive Driving

Just about everyone has experienced irritation and anger while driving. After a rushed morning or driving home after a long and tiring day, these emotions are even quicker to appear. All it takes is another driver cutting you off, not letting you merge, or just sitting in slow-moving traffic. However, reacting angrily toward another driver in any way is aggressive driving.

The Devil in the Details

Aggressive driving can include a range of reactions from subtle, deliberate acts to full blown episodes of “road rage”. It is also very common. In a 2016 survey done by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, nearly 80% of drivers said they often feel angry and show aggressive behaviors while driving. When asked what behaviors they show, here are the most common responses:

  • Tailgating intentionally (51% or 104 million drivers)
  • Yelling at other drivers (47% or 95 millions drivers)
  • Honking or somehow show their annoyance or anger (45% or 91 million drivers)
  • Making angry gestures (33% or 67 million drivers)
  • Attempt to block another vehicle from changing lanes (24% or 49 million drivers)

Several of these behaviors can get you a ticket if seen by a police officer, but that isn’t the most concerning part of aggressive driving. Each act can take a situation that likely started off small and then escalates it to more serious behaviors. The news commonly has stories of people who are injured in or out of their vehicle because of something that happened on the road then escalated. This is why 90% of the drivers responded that they felt aggressive drivers were a serious threat to personal safety.

Sometimes aggressive actions are subtle and drivers don’t even realize they are doing them, such as:

  • Driving too fast
  • Racing through a red light
  • Tailgating
  • Refusing to let others merge

These small acts of aggression still have the same effect of causing bad feelings and escalating situations that were already intense.

The Consequences of Aggression

As mentioned previously, traffic tickets and fees are a common consequence to aggressive driving. These tickets can be costly themselves, but some car insurance companies can increase your rates or refuse to continue coverage once the policy is up for renewal.

Another common cost is vehicle damage, to your car or the other car involved. These costs add up quickly. In the case of a broken headlight, taillight, or other lost essential function, the vehicle can’t be driven until the repair is done. This could mean paying for other forms of transportation or losing time and convenience.

Of course, the most terrifying consequences that come from aggressive driving are serious injury and death. It is impossible to tell what type of person you are engaging with if you get involved in a road rage incident. Some people will stop at nothing until they get revenge. In the wide scheme of things, it’s too bad that such serious consequences happen over small, unimportant driving actions.

Fixing Aggressive Habits

Many drivers make a commitment to being more kind on the road but quickly revert into their old habits. Instead of just saying they’re going to be calmer, here are three tricks to helping yourself calm down behind the wheel.

  1. Assume the Best. If you knew the person who cut you off was a new driver in training or was someone racing to the hospital, would you be as angry? Too many times, assumptions are made that other drivers are doing things on purpose, just to be mean. In reality, most driving actions that start road rage incidents start off with an innocent mistake. Practice not overreacting and realizing that not everyone is out to ruin your drive.
  2. Avoid Conflict. Keep a watchful eye out for other drivers showing aggressive behaviors. If someone is driving too close to you, being aggressive, or trying to get you to react, don’t engage. Avoid eye contact and pretend you don’t see them. Leave yourself room around your vehicle so you can switch lanes, if necessary.
  3. Focus on Breathing. If someone does something on the road to make you angry, take a few breaths before reacting. This will give you just enough time to calm down and not give room to your emotions. It often only takes a couple of breaths to regain composure and move on.

Staying Safe

The most important thing to remember is that you are trying to get yourself and any passengers in your car to a destination safely. There is nothing more important than driving safely. If someone cuts you off in traffic or fails to let you merge, it doesn’t require aggressive driving on your end. If another driver is getting aggressive with you and you can’t get away from them, call the police. 

7 Ways to Drive Safely in the Winter

911 Driving School - 7 Tips to Drive Safely in the Winter

While walking in a winter wonderland might be something to sing about, driving in winter weather isn’t. Snow and ice prevent tires from gripping the road the same, making it harder to maneuver a vehicle.

With over 70% of the roads in the United States being in snowy regions, it is important that drivers understand how to drive safely in the winter. Here are seven tips you can use for driving in snowy or icy conditions.

1. Decrease Your Speed

The most important tip for driving in the snow or on icy roads is to drive slower.

Speed limits were set for ideal conditions, so they do not apply during bad weather. Slowing down allows a driver to have more control over their car.

If you do hit a patch of ice, driving at a slower speed gives you a better chance to control the situation rather than spin out of control or off the road.

2. Plan Ahead

Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination and leave early. This will help you feel less stressed and less likely to take chances.

During driving, you can also plan ahead. Rather than focusing primarily on the car in front of you, keep an eye a short distance ahead. If the vehicles several cars up are sliding, this will give you a warning to move over, stop, or drive more carefully through that area.

If you wait until the vehicle in front of you has a problem, you won’t have enough time to react appropriately.

3. Anticipate Emergencies

Always keep some basic supplies in your car during the wintertime. This should include a first aid kit, blankets, and some extra water and food.

Don’t go too long between trips to fill up the gas tank because, during bad weather, it can take longer to get to a gas station.

Carry snow chains and tow straps in your trunk.

Also, let people know which roads you are taking and when you should arrive so if you get stuck, someone knows to look for you.

4. Leave Some Space

Driving too close to the vehicle in front is dangerous during good weather, but during bad weather, drivers should leave more space.

Temporarily losing control of the car can cause drivers to instinctively slam on the brakes, but that isn’t the right move. Instead, ease up off the gas and wait until you can control the car again. Leaving room in front of you can give you adequate space to deal with the situation.

If the driver behind you loses control, it is also nice to have a little room to move up, giving them some space too.

5. Be Seen

Make sure other drivers on the road can see your vehicle. Keep your headlights on. Even during a snowstorm, this can help others spot you.

Always use your turn signals so others see that you are slowing down to turn.

Avoid being in other drivers’ blind spots. When visibility is decreased, this spot becomes more dangerous.

Also, stay on main roads when possible. Not only are these roads better maintained during bad weather, but it also helps you be seen more easily if you slide off the road.

6. Use Four-Wheel Drive

If your vehicle has four-wheel drive, use it. These are some of the conditions it was made to handle.

Don’t make the critical error of becoming overly confident if you do have it though. Drivers should still drive cautiously, even with four-wheel drive.

Whether or not you have four-wheel drive, it is also a good idea to invest in snow tires.

7. Avoid Driving in Winter Clothing

Being bundled up is great for staying warm. Driving in these clothes can be dangerous though.

Gloves make gripping the wheel more difficult. Certain styles of winter hats can block your peripheral vision. Big boots make pushing the gas and brake pedals more difficult and harder to feel. Wearing big winter coats with a seatbelt makes it not work as well, especially for babies and children that may be in the backseat.

 

Driving in the winter isn’t always scary, but it helps to be prepared. If possible, avoid driving during big storms or dangerous conditions. Staying off the road is the safest thing anyone can do during really bad weather. This helps you avoid a crash or injury while also keeping the roads clearer for those who do need to go out. Stay safe this winter with these driving tips.