In true St. Louis tradition, we experienced seasons as unpredictable as ever, especially throughout the last few months. Much of fall felt like spring, and several days in December felt like fall.
When it doesn't feel like winter, we are more likely to overlook winter road safety preparations. In addition to the regularly surprising weather conditions, our high population of drivers makes road safety a crucial responsibility. We've gathered some tips from sources including the National Safety Council and Consumer Reports and as well as some of our own that will help ease the stress of winter road navigation.
1. Understand Your Vehicle's Safety Features & Get them Inspected.
It is crucial to not only make sure your vehicle's safety features are working, but also to understand their mechanics. The National Safety Council lists the most important safety systems for winter driving:
Hoses and fan belts
Air, fuel and emissions filters, and PCV valve
Tire wear and air pressure
Antifreeze level and freeze line
2. Keep Up With the Weather
Weather is not static. The conditions before you get behind the wheel can change-fast. Apps are one of the most common, user-friendly ways to track weather conditions. The Missouri Department of Transportation offers a Traveler Information Map App, a map that monitors changing road conditions like snow levels, and whether a road is open or closed. Remember to keep your eyes on the road, though, instead of your phone.
3. Work on Your Slide
Skidding across an icy road is one of the most unnerving driving experiences, but did you know that with proper technique, you can minimize sliding? According to Consumer Reports, the safest way to slide, is to "steer into it." First, you should gently decelerate. Then "turn steering the wheel in the direction that the car is sliding." This will straighten out the car, improve your tires' grip, and decrease the risk of an accident.
Your Car's BEST Safety Feature
Remember that despite the risks of winter driving, there is one reason to minimize fear or frustration. The National Safety Council puts it best:"You are your car's best safety feature." The proper preparations will help you take charge of your own safety, even in high-stress situations. Stay knowledgeable, practice safe, patient driving, and you can gain peace of mind on the road.