6 Common Winter Driving Mistakes to Avoid

by AutoInsuranceQuotes.org Staff Writer on December 10, 2012

When the first snow flurries hit the ground, the last thing you’re thinking about is your car. But performing regular maintenance and being prepared for winter driving are important facets of proper, safe transportation in the cold months. Tune up, tune in, and turn on — and avoid these six common winter driving mistakes for a blissful, blustery season.

  1. Foregoing Your Tune-Up

    When the temperatures turn colder, you’ll want to make sure your car is in the best condition for the weather. Make sure you’ve had a tune-up, and your engine, battery, ignition, exhaust, lights, and wipers have all been checked out. The last thing you want is to be stranded on the road in the middle of a snow storm. Plan ahead!

  2. Having Poor Tires

    If your tires aren’t in tip-top condition, try replacing or repairing them post haste. Winter roads can be hard on tires, and (depending on location) you might need to add snow tires to your car. Driving in the winter doesn’t have to be difficult, but the way your rubber meets the road can have a critical effect on your blustery driving bliss. If you don’t have snow tires, chains, or special gear, make sure your tire pressure is appropriate for the winter roads ahead.

  3. Driving Too Fast

    It’s a fact: People are idiots, and typically more so when behind the wheel of a car. Even if you’re a pro at driving in the snow, when icy conditions are present, slow down. You could be the best winter driver in the business, but never count on others to be equally mindful, experienced, and safe. When you’re in the snow, make sure you brake before turning corners, and leave plenty of space between your car and other vehicles.

  4. Pumping The Brakes

    Make sure you’ve had your brakes inspected before traveling icy winter roads. The best anti-lock brake system can fail you in adverse weather conditions, so don’t pump your brakes, especially if they’re sensitive. Not all vehicles and brake systems are created equal: Take care to practice driving in safe, open spaces before venturing out in inclement weather.

  5. Driving Without Your Headlights

    Here’s a great rule of thumb: Leave your headlights on at all times. Clean your headlights every few weeks, taking care to remove debris and build-up so you have the brightest beacons of light when driving at night. In the daytime, it’s also appropriate to shine your headlights — you never know when winter clouds and snowstorms could darken the road. Stay visible to other drivers, and mind your brights when driving in the evenings. Leave your headlights on whenever you’re driving to avoid leaving yourself and others in the dark.

  6. Leaving Home Empty-Handed

    One of the most important winter driving blunders to avoid? Not being prepared. If you live in a state with typical wintery roads, make sure you have emergency materials in case of any adverse driving problems. Cash, identification, and a first aid kit are always good tools to have at your disposal. Pack anything else you might need in case of becoming stuck in a blizzard — a bottle of water, a cell phone charger, and jumper cables are always great to have on hand.

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