Winter driving can be tough in many areas, but its downright tricky in northern Virginia.
The state may have a relatively mild climate, but the interior parts of the state have been known to experience major snowstorms, and storms that feature a mix of ice, rain and sleet can be on the menu, too.
Given all the possibilities, then, what’s the best approach to winter driving in northern Virginia? Here’s a combination of tips and things you need to know to safely get to your destination and avoid the dangers and anxieties of winter driving.
1. Slow down. If you take one thing from this article, these two words should be it. Reducing speed is the key to successful winter driving in almost any situation; it allows you to assess the situation, allow more stopping distance, figure out the safest route and avoid the unpredictable actions of other drivers that can lead to serious accidents.
2. Know your vehicle. Many drivers get themselves in trouble in winter by exceeding the limits of their vehicles and getting in bad situations. Your sedan may have four-wheel drive, but that doesn’t mean it can barrel through tough winter conditions without adequate weight. Similarly, that big SUV may be more stable in winter weather than the sedans on the road, but if you drive fast and weave in traffic you won’t be very happy with the results.
3. Keep your eyes and mind on the road. Distracted driving is becoming a major cause of accidents in all kinds of conditions, but winter is especially dangerous. Practice concentration while driving, and you’ll be better prepared for the stress of dangerous winter conditions.
4. Prepare your vehicle for winter. This one sounds obvious, but its surprising how often it gets overlooked. For starters, check your battery to make sure the connections are tight, and have your battery tested to make sure you have enough cranking power.
Tires are part of the equation, too. Make sure the pressure meets the manufacturer’s specs, and check the tires for wear, punctures, rough spots, etc.
A full gas tank is important as well. It keeps moisture from forming inside the tank, and the extra weight can help with traction.
While you’re at it, check your fluids. Make sure you’re reservoir is full of high-quality fluid, and replace your wiper blades if necessary. Check all your lights and indicators, and replace the bulbs if you have to do that, too.
5. Finally, its important to carry an emergency kit if you do run into trouble or get stranded. Make sure it includes a blanket, an ice scraper, flares, a small shovel, a flashlight, jumper cables, and of course you’re phone, with a charger.
There are other things you can do, of course, but this list should be more than enough to get you started.
And if you need help with anything related to safe winter driving, be sure to consult the folks at Wiygul Automotive, they have locations throughout the northern Virginia area and they’ll be able to do whatever’s necessary to keep you safe and happy on the road.