Winter Driving Safety

By Scott WakefieldJanuary 11, 2022

(Photo Credit: Amn. Mario Gomez) VIEW ORIGINAL

DETROIT ARSENAL, Mich. — It’s that time of year when the roads can become hazardous with winter weather conditions giving very little notice. It’s important to be vigilant when you driving in winter conditions and take extra precaution.

According to Jay LeGallee, U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command health and safety specialist, complacency plays a big part in driving accidents during the winter months.

“People continue to mess with their phones when behind the wheel, this decreased attention span can reduce situational awareness,” said LeGallee.

LeGallee also warned that rapidly dropping temperatures and wind chills can lead to icy roads, specifically black ice, which is extremely dangerous because it is hard to see. During these times, he says individuals don’t adequately gauge how long it will take them to stop safely in traffic.

The biggest piece of advice from the safety office is do not drive during dangerous winter weather, but if you have to drive follow these safety tips.

1. Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained. Check your tire pressure, windshield wiper blades and fluid, and consider carrying an extra gallon of washer fluid in the trunk.

2. Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Pressing down slowly on the gas pedal can help regain traction and avoid skids. Apply the brakes gradually to minimize sliding on icy roads. Also, don’t use cruise control or overdrive if your vehicle has those options.

3. Increase the distance between you and other vehicles. Increasing your following distance to 5-6 seconds behind the driver in front of you to increase the margin of safety when stopping on snow covered or icy roads.

4. Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.

5. Turn on your lights. Increase your visibility to other drivers by turning on your lights while driving in snowy or foggy weather.

Following these few simple tips can make your travel during winter weather a little safer.