Staying Safe in Winter Weather

Every year, Chattanooga gets an average of 2”-4” of snow. That may not sound like a lot, but consider the treacherous mountain passes coming down into the city. That snow could turn into ice.

In 2016, there were around 70 crashes in the same day due to icy conditions according to the Times Free Press. Winter will be coming sooner than you think. This is a good time to start thinking about winterizing your vehicle and remembering the following safety tips to stay safe on the roads in winter weather.

Maintain Your Vehicle

The first thing to do is to keep your vehicle maintained, especially your brakes and tires. Bald tires will make your car harder to stop in wet or icy conditions. Bad brakes make it hard to stop quickly. Both of these can cause an accident that could easily be fatal. If you’ve been neglecting this all summer because of the dry and clear conditions, now is the time to get those repairs done.

Check your windshield wipers and replace them if they are getting worn out. In snowy or rainy conditions, your wipers help you see clearly in front of you. You might also want to put no-freeze fluid in your windshield washer reservoir to help melt snow and ice buildup.

Finally, don’t go out on the road if your windows aren’t clear of snow and ice. Keep an ice scraper in the front of your vehicle.

Practice Cold Weather Driving

Southerners get a lot of hassle from our northern neighbors for their inexperience driving in severe winter weather, but we get enough snow and ice here that knowing how to handle these situations is important.

If you feel your car start to skid, turn your wheel in the direction of the skid. This will force the vehicle’s front tires to drag against the direction you’re going and bring you out of it.

Know what kind of brakes you have. Anti-lock brakes are standard on most vehicles these days. With this kind of braking system, it’s okay to stomp on the brakes to come to a stop. But in older vehicles or ones with a broken ABS sensor, the brakes must be pumped to avoid a lock-out. This is a very dangerous situation where the brakes are applied but won’t slow the car down.

Stopping distances are much further on ice and snow, especially in the passes where the road grade makes stopping distances longer. Don’t be afraid to put a lot of distance between yourself and the car in front of you in dangerous conditions.

Winter weather also means that you should double down on your usual safety procedures. Never drink and drive. Keep a sharp eye out for pedestrians, especially in snowy conditions. And if you plan to go on a long car trip, stop every three hours for a break.

Dennis & King encourages you to practice safe driving during the upcoming winter season. It is one of the most dangerous times of year to be out on the roads. Follow these safety tips and you’ll go a long way to preventing a crash.