Colorado natives are no strangers when it comes to driving in winter weather conditions. That said, severe weather during the winter months and slick road conditions contribute to nearly half a million car accidents and over 2,000 fatalities every season, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
No matter your experience level, winter driving can rattle even the most confident drivers on the road. Here are a few tips for driving in winter weather to ensure your safety behind the wheel this season.
Take it slow
A vehicle’s tires have less traction when the road is coated in snow or ice. To account for this and avoid losing control, you should always slow down your speed to match the conditions.
Increase following distance
Experts typically recommend the four-second rule for how much distance should be between you and the driver in front of you in normal driving conditions. When the driver in front of you passes a stationary landmark, it should take you four seconds to reach the same point. In the winter, aim to increase this distance to five or six seconds.
Go easy on the gas and brake pedals
Drivers should try to avoid accelerating or hitting the brakes too quickly to prevent traction loss and skidding on the roads. It takes longer to slow down on wet or icy roads, so give yourself plenty of time and space to slow down at stoplights and intersections.
Prepare for long journeys
If you’re planning on traveling this season, be sure to make the necessary preparations for a safe road trip. Check the weather in advance to avoid dangerous conditions and be sure to let someone know when you are leaving before hitting the road.
Ultimately, the best way to stay safe this winter is to avoid driving altogether if you can. Even if you feel capable of handling some snow and ice on the roads, it doesn’t mean other drivers will be practicing the same precautions.