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Winter Driving Hazards & How to Remain Safe

Winter Driving Hazards

Remember when you were a kid and a big midweek snowstorm roared in? Did you get super excited and hope so hard that schools would close so you’d get a snow day? What was more fun than that: an unexpected day off to stay inside, watch cartoons, and drink hot chocolate? Snowball fights and building snow forts with your friends? What could be better than freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall? 

Then you grew up... and suddenly “snow days” weren’t your fondest wish anymore. Instead, even in the winter snow, sleet, hail, and ice, you still have to get to work, run errands, drive the kids where they need to go...and winter weather isn’t so fun anymore. 

What are some specific hazards to driving in winter, and what precautions can you take to keep you and your family safe on the roads? Well, we are glad you asked!

About 25 percent of car accidents have weather as a factor. Extreme winter weather creates hazards on the road: snow, ice, sleet, poor visibility, and other road hazards. And even on relatively warm winter days, the roads can still be icy. Driving on icy roads challenges your tires’ ability to grip the road surface, making it harder for you to steer and stop safely. And as if regular ice isn’t dangerous enough, black ice is even more dangerous. Black ice is hard to see, and drivers often think the road is wet with rain or melted snow when it’s slick with black ice. Black ice tends to form late and night and early in the morning, making it even harder for drivers to spot.

So--what can you do?

Consider your car

Is your car fully winterized? Check that your battery, brakes, lights, and heater/defroster are all operating as they should. 

Make sure your exhaust pipe is clear of snow before you drive. 

Replace your wiper blades and inspect your tires for tread and to make sure they are correctly inflated. 

Keep an eye on your gas gauge; keeping your tank close to full protects your gas line from freezing (and protects you from running out of gas in a storm).

Consider your driving habits

Slow down, don’t follow the car in front of you too closely, and remember that your vehicle needs three times the average distance to stop when you’re driving on slick roads.

Give yourself extra time to get to where you’re going. 

Watch the road ahead closely for potential hazards. Parts of the road that is in the shade, like under overpasses and bridges, are often icy and can be hard to spot.

Brake slowly and don’t use cruise control.

Drive with your headlights on (but not your high beams) when it’s snowing/sleeting/raining.

Consider visiting your friendly neighborhood car mechanic

This time of year, it’s always a good idea to have your car checked out to be sure you and your family will be safe on the roads around Glenview and Evanston. Cars of America would be glad to have your business. At CARS, you'll find friendly, top-notch professionals who deliver quality auto repair at affordable prices. We stand behind our repairs with a lifetime warranty. You’re welcome to stop by Cars of America in Glenview or Evanston or visit us online at https://www.carsofamericainc.com/. 


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