With icy roads, cold temperatures, and snow affecting driving conditions, stop those winter driving woes and make sure you and your employees know safe driving techniques during inclement weather.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 22% of car crashes during the year are caused by weather-related issues, with the majority of accidents being caused by wet, icy, snowy, or slushy pavement. Winter weather makes driving much more dangerous even for experienced drivers. Regardless of if you live in the northern regions where snow and ice is more common, taking additional preparations and having the proper training to drive in any kind of winter weather can make all the difference in helping to make a trip safer or helping motorists deal with an emergency.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists the three P’s of Safe Winter Driving: PREPARE for the trip; PROTECT yourself; and PREVENT crashes on the road.
Maintain Your Car: Check battery, tire tread, and windshield wipers, keep your windows clear, put no-freeze fluid in the washer reservoir, and check your antifreeze.
Have On Hand: flashlight, jumper cables, abrasive material (sand, kitty litter, even floor mats), shovel, snow brush and ice scraper, warning devices (like flares) and blankets. For long trips, add food and water, medication and cell phone.
Stopped or Stalled? Stay in your car, don’t overexert, put bright markers on antenna or windows and shine dome light, and, if you run your car, clear exhaust pipe and run it just enough to stay warm.
Plan your route: Allow plenty of time (check the weather and leave early if necessary), be familiar with the maps/ directions, and let others know your route and arrival time.
Practice Cold Weather Driving, If Possible:
- During the daylight, rehearse maneuvers slowly on ice or snow in an empty lot.
- Steer into a skid.
- Know what your brakes will do: stomp on antilock brakes, pump on non-antilock brakes.
- Stopping distances are longer on water-covered ice and ice.
- Don’t idle for a long time with the windows up or in an enclosed space.
- Buckle up and use child safety seats properly.
- Never place a rear-facing infant seat in front of an air bag.
- Children 12 and under are much safer in the back seat.
- Drugs and alcohol never mix with driving.
- Slow down and increase distances between cars.
- Keep your eyes open for pedestrians walking in the road.
- Avoid fatigue – Get plenty of rest before the trip, stop at least every three hours, and rotate drivers if possible.
- If you are planning to drink, designate a sober driver.
Need training on how to drive safely in winter? Summit’s got you covered – Prepare your drivers to tackle cold temperatures, limited visibility, and slippery roads with Summit’s DVD, streaming video, and online training program Winter Driving: Weather the Road.