Tips for Winter Driving In NJ
With winter weather quickly approaching New Jersey, it is important to remember that just because the roads look clear, it does not mean they are 100% safe and can be driven on as you do normally. With the risk of ice, especially black ice, and extra narrow lanes it’s important to be extra alert and prepared for anything. Make sure you follow these tips for winter driving so you and everyone around you can stay safe.
See and Be Seen
Always make sure that you can see clearly and be seen clearly by other drivers. It is very important that you clean all the snow off of your car before you hit the road. This includes your windshield, all windows, outside mirrors, reflectors and lights. This will ensure that you will be able to be seen, and will prevent snow from flying off your car and blinding other drivers. In addition to clean, snow free lights also make sure you use the correct lights. Never drive with your parking lights as opposed to headlights in bad weather, or at dusk. Parking lights can cause other drivers t think you are much further away than you actually are.
Know The Road Conditions
Get the feel of the road before you get too far from home. Try out your brakes and see how slippery the road feels. Adjust your speed accordingly and remember the road conditions change along with the temperatures. Once You are out in traffic increase the distance you normally keep between yourself and cars ahead of you. DO NOT TAILGATE! The heavier your vehicle, the more space you will need to come to a stop. No matter the weight of your car, play it safe and stay several car lengths behind the driver in front of you.
Use Your Brakes The Right Way
Brake ahead of curves, not while you are already in one. Every vehicle is sensitive to over-braking and over-steering on curves. You may not know what is around the bend. Instead of possibly needing to slam on the brakes, just take it nice and slow around curves. In other words, minimize your risk.
If you need to slow down further, or stop completely,what you need to do next depends on the type of brakes you have. If you are equipped with anti-lock brakes then put your foot firmly on the brake and let the ABS system pump your brakes for you while you concentrate on steering. If you don’t have ABS then you will need to pump your brakes. This will help to keep the wheels from locking up, causing you to slide.
Always be prepared. Check the forecast before you leave and the traffic reports. Give yourself more time than you need to get somewhere so you do not have to rush at all. Always keep the following items on hand in case of emergency.
- A charged cell phone
- A working flashlight
- A shovel
- An ice scraper
- Any critical medications and water/food.
If you get stuck, stay with your car and run it only as much as necessary to stay warm. Be sure that the tailpipe of the car is cleared of snow, or you risk carbon monoxide poisoning. Finally place a bright marker on your antenna so you can bee seen.
It is important to remember these tips for winter driving to help keep yourself and everyone on the road safe this winter. If everyone following these safety tips, we can really minimize the risk of being out there.