Winter has officially arrived.
We’ve already received our first snow of the season, and with it the expected hazardous road conditions. Southwest Virginia is particularly vulnerable to the winter conditions because of our landscape and location. Hills that quickly become icy are difficult, if not impossible, to navigate. Deer are a constant problem and so are other drivers.
Though it may be a tad cliche, make sure you take the extra precautions this winter season when winter weather arrives. It not only keeps your family safe, but it may help save you some money along the way.
Preparing Your Vehicle*
As temperatures start to drop, it’s time to make sure your car is stocked with a winter driving survival kit, including an ice scraper, a snow shovel and sand or salt. This way, you’ll be prepared if winter weather arrives while you’re away from home. It’s also a good time to check your tires to determine whether it’s time to replace them or whether you need snow tires.
A few habits to adopt regularly during the winter months can also help prepare you for a wintry drive. Make it a practice to keep your gas tank at least half full so you can run your engine and stay warm if you get stuck or stranded. Keep your windshield wipers in good condition and your windshield fluid reservoir filled so you can clear snow and ice from your windshield.
Watching the Weather
If you plan to travel when inclement weather looms, monitor road and weather conditions by checking local news stations or Internet traffic and weather sites. You can sign up for weather alerts to receive text messages and optional alerts for your area. Do not check your phone while driving, and avoid all unnecessary distractions when you’re behind the wheel.
Driving for Winter Conditions
Before you leave the driveway or parking lot, take time to clear snow and ice off your car, including your windows, mirrors, lights, reflectors, hood, roof and trunk. Drive with your headlights on, and be sure to keep them clean to improve visibility. Use caution when snow banks limit your view of oncoming traffic.
As you get on the road, remember that speed limits are meant for dry roads, not roads covered in snow and ice. You should reduce your speed and increase your following distance as road conditions and visibility worsen. Avoid using cruise control in snowy or icy conditions – you want as much control of your car as possible. Be cautious on bridges and overpasses as they are commonly the first areas to become icy, and avoid passing snow plows and sand trucks. The drivers can have limited visibility, and the road in front of them could be worse than the road behind.
* Content provided by Travelers Insurance