Even if you have completed driver’s ed and you feel like you received a solid driver’s education, when the cold weather strikes, even the most experienced driver can panic or make mistakes. In fact, 25 percent of weather-related car accidents are due to snowy or icy roads. While you can’t control the weather, you can take extra precautions to ensure your safety. Here are the top five tips our driving instructors in Connecticut recommend for driving safely in the winter:
1. Make Sure You Clear the Snow from All Windows, Lights, and More
When you are in a hurry, it can be tempting to simply swipe away a big enough space for you to see through and get behind the wheel, but this greatly reduces your visibility in an already dangerous driving situation. Take the few extra minutes before you leave to clear off all of the windows, the mirrors, and your lights. It’s actually illegal in Connecticut to drive with snow covering your car, so make sure you clean it off!
2. Use Your Headlights
Even during the day, headlights can help you see the road better and moreover, they will help you be seen by other drivers.
3. Ignore Speed Limits
Yes, maybe your New York driving school taught you to always follow the speed limit, but this rule does not always apply in snow and ice. These speed limits were set with clear roads and clear skies in mind. When the road is snowy and/or icy, you should reduce your speed, and increase the distance you leave between you and the car in front of you. Only go as fast as you can while still feeling safe—never push it for fear of upsetting the car behind you. The most important thing is your safety.
4. Skip Cruise Control
Just like speed limits, cruise control should be used in ideal driving conditions. Don’t use it in the snow or ice—you need as much control as possible.
5. Practice Somewhere Safe
When you are taking driver’s ed, it is all about getting enough practice, and the same is true for winter driving. As Malcolm Gladwell says, it takes at least 10,000 hours of doing something before you can be a master at it. If you are still getting your driver’s education, take your parent with you to an empty parking lot or another large space where no other vehicles are nearby, and practice, practice, practice. Most people do not get enough practice driving in the snow before they take the wheel on busy streets, and this can be a costly mistake.
While driving in the winter can be daunting, if you are diligent in getting enough practice as part of your driver’s education, and you follow the above tips, you can safely get around when the roadways are not ideal.
To learn more about our driving school so you can get even more tips from our driving instructors, contact us now.