Winter weather can be as dangerous as it is unpredictable. Studies have shown that approximately 70 percent of winter deaths attributed to snow and ice involve motor vehicles making it incredibly important to be safe on the road when driving conditions become hazardous.
The following tips, provided by Bridgestone Winter Driving School director and pro race driver Mark Cox, will give you the upper hand when taking your vehicle out into snowy or icy weather:
Inspect your windshield wiper blades to make sure they're working properly. If you live in an area where heavy snow during the winter is a regular occurrence, switch your conventional wiper blades for snow blades during the winter months.
Before leaving your driveway, make sure your tires are properly inflated. Under- or over-inflated tires can reduce the gripping action of tires because the tread won't meet the road surface as it was designed to do.
Use dedicated snow and ice tires, like the Bridgestone Blizzak, when living in an area where adverse precipitation is a certainty. Snow and ice tires have a special tread compound and a unique tread design to increase road-gripping abilities. Install snow tires on all four wheels, not just your driving wheels.
Kick the snow off of your shoes before getting into your vehicle. When snow melts, it can create moisture buildup and cause windows to fog.
Avoid harsh use of your brakes while driving. However, if you need to make an emergency stop in a car equipped with an Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS), firmly press the pedal down and hold it to the floor.
Never use your cell phone when driving -; even if you use a hands-free model when in the car. When maneuvering through ice or snow, you will need to completely focus on driving safely.
As an extra precaution, it's a good idea to store the name and telephone number of an emergency contact in your cell phone under the acronym ICE which stands for in case of emergency. Doing this will help rescue personnel quickly locate a friend or family member during an emergency.