Every Connecticut resident knows that Winter brings snow, ice, and other hazardous road conditions. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, around 22% of vehicle accidents are caused by inclement weather.
Thankfully, there are some actions that drivers can take to increase their safety in the winter.
Make sure your entire vehicle is cleared of all snow and ice so that you have clear visibility from the driver's seat. It is important to brush and clear the snow and ice from the roof, windows, headlights, and hood. Leaving snow or ice on top of your vehicle is extremely dangerous to other drivers on the road. A motor vehicle operator who fails to remove accumulated ice and snow could be fined and charged with an infraction.
Losing control of your vehicle is arguably the biggest risk associated with driving in the winter. Driving faster makes it harder for your wheels to gain traction, increasing the likelihood that you will lose control. When roads are covered in snow or ice, slow down to ensure you get where you need to.
Don't Use Cruise Control
Cruise control is a great feature to have, but it is best to avoid using it in the winter. If your wheels lose traction on icy or wet roads and start to spin, cruise control could keep you accelerating. And, if you are sitting with your foot off the pedal, you might not even feel it start to pull. When your vehicle catches on ice or snow, it causes the car to surge forward and put the vehicle into a skid. By the time you put your foot back on the pedal and take the cruise control off, it could be too late.
If your foot is on the pedal, you can feel the wheels slip and hopefully react quicker.
Use all-wheel drive if possible; if your vehicle does not have AWD or 4WD capability, make sure you have good winter tires on.
One of the hardest parts of driving in snowy or icy conditions is keeping traction on the road. Vehicles with all-wheel drive distribute torque among all four wheels to improve traction.
On the road, you should be prepared for unforeseen events including serious emergencies. Have your car stocked with necessary supplies such as new wiper blades, wiper fluid, ice scrapers, a shovel, sand for traction, bottled water, and a blanket in case you have a long wait for a tow truck.