On the Road in Winter: Driving Tips to Keep You Safe

Topics: Agent Tips

During this busy time of year as people rush out to finish their holiday shopping, head to festive parties or squeeze in those last few client meetings before the year’s end, a large portion of the country has to deal with inclement winter weather affecting their travel plans. In fact, according to the Federal Highway Administration, nearly 70 percent of the nation lives in regions where more than five inches of snow falls annually. And every year, icy conditions or snowy and slushy pavement cause 24 percent of all weather-related vehicle crashes, with 15 percent occurring during an event like snowfall or sleet.

Whether you’re heading out to see clients or planning a long-distance road trip to visit family this holiday season, it’s important to take some extra precautions to ensure you get to all your destinations as safely as possible.

Winter Driving Safety Tips

When heavy snow causes low visibility and slick, icy roads, understanding how to properly handle your vehicle is key to keeping yourself and others safe while on the road. Keep these winter driving tips in mind until the weather breaks in the spring:

Watch the weather forecast

Throughout the season, meteorologists stay on top of winter storm warnings and make sure to share when inclement weather is on the way. When you’ve got plans to drive more than a couple miles down the road, tune into your local news station or check out a weather app on your smartphone. This way you can better prepare yourself or reschedule meetings if it looks like you might get stuck in a snowstorm.

Plan ahead accordingly

If there’s no avoiding going out into less than ideal driving conditions, map out your route so you know you’re taking the safest roads possible. Additionally, allow yourself ample time to get to your destination. This may mean leaving earlier than normal, so take that into consideration to ensure you don’t arrive late to an important meeting.

Properly prepare your vehicle

If your car sits outside in the elements, make sure to brush off all the snow and scrape the ice from all the windows. If you don’t have snow tires installed, keep your current tires inflated to the manufacturer’s specifications and inspect them for low tread, bulges and other normal wear and tear. Keep your gas tank at least half full, refill the windshield wiper fluid regularly, and perform other routine maintenance as needed, like oil changes and tire rotations to ensure your vehicle is in top condition.

Take your time

Driver safety is often compromised simply because individuals are too hasty when they get behind the wheel. Remember, icy conditions mean you need to take it slow at all times. Don’t rush to accelerate when the light turns green, as your tires are likely to spin and you could slide into another car or the curb.

Never drive impaired

Of course, one of the basics of safe driving is to always drive completely sober. However, driver fatalities spike over the holiday season. In fact, over the last five years, an average of 300 people lost their lives in the days between Christmas and New Year’s alone. If you are heading to an event where you know you’ll be enjoying some holiday spirits, make sure to designate a sober driver, or enlist a taxi or rideshare service.

Pay attention to other drivers

You might be confident in your winter driving skills, but remember that others you’re sharing the road with may be slightly less sure of themselves. No matter how many safety precautions you personally take, you can’t be responsible for the actions of others. Always be alert when you’re driving in winter weather and take note of the vehicles around you, keeping a safe distance away at all times.

At AmTrust, your success is our policy no matter the time of year. For more information about growing your book of business with our small business insurance options for your valued clients, please contact us today.

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors.

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