Winter is coming. As the days grow short, temperatures across the United States will drop. In Michigan, that might mean blizzards, while in Florida, winter offers a welcome reprieve from intense heat. Nash Habib, who manages Angelo’s Towing in San Diego, provides tips for safe driving during the winter months.
“Winter means different things depending on where you’re located,” Nash Habib argues. “In San Diego, you can expect more rain and longer nights. In Maine, you can expect snowy roads and dangerously cold temperatures. If you’re new to an area, make sure you understand what winter will mean for you.”
Snow can make even quiet suburban roads dangerous to drive on. Most cars will get less traction in snow, and the risk of losing control greatly increases. You could end up in a severe accident even if you’re driving carefully and below the speed limit.
“If you live in a snowy region, I recommend getting snow tires,” Nash Habib suggests. “These tires offer much better traction in snow and could prevent accidents. Here in San Diego, we don’t have to worry about snow, but increased rain could leave roads slick.”
Speaking of tires, you also need to pay attention to tire pressure. Cold weather tends to make things contract, including air. As temperatures drop, so too will your tire pressure. The colder the temperature, the more air pressure you’re likely to lose. Yet even in areas with mild climates, like San Diego, it’s smart to pay close attention to air pressure come winter.
“A lot of people fail to pay close attention to air pressure, and that’s a big mistake,” Nash Habib explains, “because you’ll be more likely to suffer a blowout. You could also get worse gas mileage and you may not get as much traction.”
You’ll also want to use windshield de-icer fluid. And it’s smart to have a roadside emergency kit and some blankets in your trunk.
Proper maintenance will help ensure a safer driving experience. That said, a car is only as safe as its driver. Proper driving habits can help prevent accidents and keep you and your loved ones out of harm’s way.
“First, before driving, you absolutely must make sure that your car windshields and windows are clear of snow and frost,” Nashwan Habib says. “If visibility is reduced, you’ll be at a much greater risk of suffering an accident.”
When driving in the winter, you’ll want to take it easy on the gas. Press too hard and you’ll spin your tires on the snow and ice.
You also need to take it easy on the brakes. You’ll generally want to just tap on the brakes and it’s best to ease off the gas as you approach a stoplight or stop sign, letting your car slow on its own before you apply the brakes.
“Practice makes perfect,” Nash Habib says. “If you’re new to driving in snow or on wet roads, consider taking trips around town when the roads aren’t congested, so you can learn how your car handles in winter conditions.”