Winter: When everyone around you forgets how to drive.
Year after year, it happens. Of course, we’re not talking about you, but the majority of other people seem to “forget” how to drive in the winter! We haven’t seen a huge amount of snow yet this winter, but we know it’s coming! We want to help you avoid an accident, and avoid a claim.
Here are a few reminders to help you avoid auto claims this winter:
Before you go: Plan your drive, check road conditions, and allow extra time.
There are a few good apps out there like MN 511, Waze, Google Maps and (Apple) Maps that not only provide directions, but can be helpful in reporting traffic speeds, road hazards and road conditions.
Stay back, stay alive!
That is a MN DOT saying since I can remember, and with good reason. You should stay a minimum of two car lengths behind the vehicle in front of you. If they need to slam on their brakes, you only have fractions of a second to react. The greater distance between you and the vehicles in front of you, the more reaction time you have.
Don’t use cruise control if it’s icy, snowy or wet.
I use cruise control frequently, mainly because I have a lead foot and need help ensuring I stay within the speed limit on the freeway! However, using it when the roads are anything but dry is a no-no. If you catch a patch of ice or begin to hydroplane, your reaction time is delayed with cruise. Rather than naturally (and proactively) slowing down or letting off the gas, you are more likely to be reactive and use the brakes… which may be too late.
Slow & steady!
How many times have you seen big 4×4 trucks pass you on a slick freeway, only to drive by them moments later… as they are trying to get out of the ditch? On icy roads, you can slide just as easy in 4×4 as you can in 2×4. Everyone should just take it easy and drive a little slower, especially if you see others in the ditch (indicating the roads are slippery.)
Turn on your lights.
Most vehicles on the road are equipped with automatic daytime running lamps – the kind that are on all the time or come on automatically in dim lighting. However, there are times when it’s sunny and snowing (or even sunny and raining.) Be sure your lights are on anytime you need to use your wipers or there is low visibility. This isn’t so you can see in front of you, but so others can see you coming!
Remember, even though you may need to have insurance, you don’t have to use it! Avoid an accident. Avoid a claim.