Driving during a blizzard or heavy snowstorm is dangerous for many reasons — black ice, low visibility, and carbon monoxide leaks being just a few. Although it’s not recommended that you leave your home in treacherous weather conditions, sometimes it’s necessary. If you absolutely have to drive during a blizzard, follow these safety tips.
Prepare for Winter Conditions
Before the snow hits, you should replenish antifreeze fluids; get new tires with ample tread and fill them with enough pressure; and replace worn-out windshield wipers. Keep an emergency kit in the car, complete with a shovel, ice scraper, jumper cables, extra antifreeze, and anything else you think you might need if you get stranded or stuck on the road. (Some drivers stash a bag of kitty litter in the trunk, too and sprinkle it under their tires for better traction in slippery conditions.)
Check Your Exhaust Pipes
Clogged exhaust pipes can cause very dangerous carbon monoxide to leak into your car. During last year’s blizzard, this poisonous, odorless gas caused several deaths. Take a few moments to make sure your exhaust pipes are clear before getting into your vehicle.
Keep your distance from other vehicles and drive slowly. Avoid lane changes and sharp turns if you can and be on alert. High winds can create low visibility when it’s snowing, and driving slow will give you more time to react to any sudden changes on the road.
Watch Out for Black Ice
Ice on the road can cause accidents and skidding, especially the hard-to-see black ice, so keeping your distance will give you more reaction time to steer away and avoid any accidents. Driving on bridges can be particularly dangerous if there is black ice, so be extra cautious if maneuvering over bridges. If you start to skid, you can right your vehicle by steering in the direction you’re skidding, not away from it.
Do Not Use Cruise Control
Terrible weather conditions require your full attention when driving, so avoid using cruise control during a blizzard. If you hit a patch of ice or any slipperiness on the road, it may take you longer to react to the situation and you’re likely to lose control of the vehicle, putting yourself and those around you in danger.