Winter driving is far from over. While the entire U.S. has experienced one of its worst winters in recent years so far, there may be more hazardous weather ahead. This can make driving a real concern here in Virginia, and even experienced drivers may find conditions a bit nerve-wracking and their skills tested by winter road conditions.
Having a calm experience behind the wheel of a car in extreme cold and snowy weather can be an arduous task. Visibility is often reduced considerably and cars don’t always function or react like they would under normal driving circumstances. A vehicle sliding along an icy road or bridge is definitely a recipe for disaster. This just highlights the importance of having proper auto insurance in Alexandria, VA, especially around this time of the year.
Preparation is the key to driver and passenger safety
Before beginning any trip, a driver should know the current road conditions and rely on the latest weather forecast (for statewide highway
information 24 hours a day, call 511 or go to511virginia.org). Here are some tips to help motorists drive more safely as roads become more difficult to maneuver. Make sure the vehicle is ready for winter by performing the following:
- Check the car’s brakes and tires
- Check fluid levels in battery and oil compartment
- Test the ignition system to ensure easy starts
- Check antifreeze and ensure thermostat is functional
- Check all windshield wipers and de-icing washer fluid
- Ensure all headlights, tail and brake lights, and blinkers and emergency flashers are functional
- Check exhaust system for clogs or blockage, and
- Make sure heater and defroster are in working order
It’s a good idea to leave a few minutes early so as not to be in a hurry. Clear any snow or ice from the vehicle’s roof, hood and trunk and clean the windows, mirrors and lights for visibility. Always ensure that everyone is wearing a seat belt. Start out slowly in the lowest gear recommended by the vehicle’s manufacturer, and be aware of potentially icy areas such as shady spots and bridges.
Keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other moving vehicles, as well as trucks that are plowing the road, at all times. Don’t pass a snowplow or spreader unless it is absolutely necessary. Keeping an emergency winter driving kit in the car can be extremely helpful. Always carry a card with information about the Alexandria VA auto insurance coverage in the vehicle at all times.