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10 Winter Driving Tips to Keep You Safe

10 Winter Driving Tips to Keep You Safe

Every year, roughly 800 people die in snow-related car accidents. Operating a car on a snowy or icy roadway requires care, precision, and preparation. Whether you grew up in New York or live in Miami and have only seen snow on TV, you should always make sure that you and your car are prepared to handle wintry road conditions. Below are ten driving tips to help protect you and your vehicle when winter weather strikes.  

1) Reduce your speed.

Driving more slowly is vital to the safety of you and the motorists who share the road with you. Virtually every vehicle safety organization cites speed reduction as one of the top ways to prepare for winter driving. Begin monitoring your speed as soon as you hit the road to pave the way for a safe drive. 

Your tires are the key to your safety when driving in Winter conditions.

Your tires are the key to your safety when driving in Winter conditions.

2) Check your tires before driving to ensure they are properly inflated.

During the winter, your tires' inflation levels may fluctuate with dropping temperatures. Make sure that all of your tires are sufficiently inflated to adjust to these fluctuations. Tire experts from San Francisco to Miami Beach recommend that drivers operate their tires 3-5 PSI higher than usual to help compensate for slower response times.   

3) Increase your normal following distance to at least 8 to 10 seconds.

When driving on snow and ice, drivers should keep more distance between their car and the vehicle in front of them. Under dry weather conditions, a good rule of thumb is to use the 3-second rule. However, when contending with wintry weather, drivers should increase their following distance to 8 to 10 seconds because it can be more challenging to slow down or avoid road debris. 

4) Make sure you have plenty gas and fluids.

The 90-minute drive from New York City to the Hamptons can quickly turn into hours on the road when winter weather strikes. Failure to ensure that you have plenty of gas, oil, and washer fluid can spell disaster for a driver - especially one who is unfamiliar with the NY highway system. Make sure you have plenty of fuel before you begin your drive - even if it is a short one.  

5) Do not hesitate when you are driving up a snowy or icy hill.

One of the most dangerous things you can do is to attempt to drive up a steep hill in snowy or icy weather. If there is absolutely no way for you to avoid driving on a snowy or icy hill, make sure that you do not stop or reduce your speed while you are in the process of driving up the hill. This can cause your vehicle to lose traction and slide back into the cars behind you.

6) Resist the urge to drive when you are tired.

Navigating a snowy hill is entirely different than taking a relaxing drive around South Beach. While you should never operate an automobile when you are tired, it is especially dangerous to attempt to drive in dangerous conditions when you are not well rested. If you must drive your vehicle on the snow or ice, make sure that you are well rested so that you can think clearly and act quickly if you encounter danger.

7) Avoid using cruise control on slippery road surfaces.

While cruise control is a must for a day trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles, it can endanger your safety when used on wet or slick road surfaces. The National Safety Commission warns that using cruise control on wet surfaces can cause your car to lose contact with the pavement, even when driving at slow speeds.

8) Dress warmly. 

Being from sunny Miami or toasty Las Vegas is no excuse for failing to wear warm clothing when driving in winter weather. If you are a Miamian traveling to the Northeast during December, you will quickly discover that your Art Basel outfit will do little to protect you from the chilly New England weather. If you are on your way to a destination that is prone to wintry conditions, you should always be sure to pack a warm jacket, gloves, and boots. If your car heater fails, you will be thankful that you dressed for the cold weather. 

9) Stock your car with an emergency kit.

Driving a beautifully-maintained luxury rental car does not make you immune to car accidents. Keeping an emergency kit in your car is especially important if winter weather is in the forecast. Commonly referred to as auto survival kits, emergency kits typically feature protective gear, a mini first aid kit, and a small supply of food and water. Regardless of whether you are headed to Los Angeles or South Beach, you will be grateful that you planned ahead if you are stranded for any reason.

10) Avoid driving during winter weather advisories.

The only way to completely avoid winter driving hazards is to remain in a safe location and avoid driving until the roads are cleared. Unfortunately, this is not always an option for people who are required to drive to and from work or to purchase food and supplies. If you must venture out in your vehicle during emergency conditions, be sure to limit your driving as much as you can.  

The Bottom Line

When winter weather strikes, you should exercise extreme caution when driving - especially if you are driving a luxury rental vehicle that you do not yet know by heart. The best way to familiarize yourself with your rental car is to seek the guidance of a trusted industry expert who can outline additional tips and features that will help you drive safely in all weather conditions.

As a leader in the exotic car rental industry, the vehicle experts with CarHopper have the expertise to help you enjoy a safe and pleasant driving experience. Whether you are headed to San Francisco or Miami Beach, we invite you to contact us to find out why CarHopper is the nation's leading luxury and exotic car rental company!

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