Winter is here and it’s time to be prepared for the snowy conditions, that is if you’re from a location that gets heavy snowfall. It may look like a beautiful winter wonderland, but it’s not always something to look forward to when you need to get the kids to school.
Snowfall adds even more time to your drive and makes it difficult to rush through the drop-off/pick-up line at school. In order to decrease the amount of time you spend in the pickup/dropoff line, we suggest downloading the Figure8 app. This app can also connect you to other school parents who have cars that can safely drive in the snow.
Parents, Figure8 knows how important it is for you to get your kids to and from school safely. Snow can make it difficult to get to and from places, but luckily there are ways to safely maneuver through the ice and slush. We did some research and gathered 10 important tips from the American Automobile Association or AAA on how to safely drive through the slippery wet snow.
1. Slow Down
Remember the old tale of the tortoise and the hare? Slow and steady wins the race. Even if you are running late, slow down. Slick roads and speeding to school is a dangerous combination. Be sure to slowly accelerate, slowly stop and even take your turns slowly. It’s better to be safe than sorry. In order to make it to school and activities on time, plan to leave earlier than usual. Doing this will reduce your urge to rush and will give you extra time to make it to your destinations!
2. Pump Your Breaks
Be sure to test your brakes when you begin to drive in your neighborhood. Doing this will give you a good idea of how slick it is on the roads and will also give you a chance to test your brakes. It’s important to know whether or not you have anti-lock brakes. Knowing this will help you for when you stop your car in the snow. It is advised to pump your brakes even if you do have the anti-lock braking system in your car.
3. Keep On Rolling
Getting stuck in the snow is the worst. Try to avoid stopping as much as you can. According to AAA, there’s a big difference between the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. Try to slow down enough to keep rolling until the traffic light changes. This will prevent you from getting stuck in the snow!
4. Don’t Fully Depend on Four-Wheel Drive
People like to believe that four-wheel drive is a magical car function that prevents them from the dangers of snow and ice. It can help you get through snow and ice and give you some extra control, but it doesn’t make you invincible. According to AAA, four-wheel traction systems won’t help you stop faster than other cars when you hit a slick patch of ice. It is still advised to follow all of the safety precautions.
5. Get Winter Tires
Your tires can make all the difference when it comes to driving in the snow. Tires keep your car connected to the road and if they lose their grip you will lose control. Even if your car came with great all-season tires, it doesn’t mean they will be ready for the wintery conditions. If you face long winters with a lot of snowfall, you may want to get winter tires. These tires are designed for snowy conditions and will help you get around safely.
6. Make Sure You Have Clear Visibility
Be sure to have an ice scraper in your car during the winter season. It’s also important to keep your anti-freeze levels high and make sure you have good window wipers for when the heavy snowfall hits. Snow and ice can be difficult to wipe off of your windows and mirros, having the right tools will help you have better visibility while driving.
7. Check Your Exhaust
It is extremely important to make sure your exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow, ice or mud! A blocked exhaust with the engine running can cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to leak into the passenger compartment. Also, be sure to never warm up your vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage. This can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning as well.
8. Don’t Use Cruise Control
If you’re planning to go a long distance or on a road trip and you hit some winter weather, make sure to not use your cruise control. You need to be able to control your speed at all times in slippery conditions, even in the rain. This will prevent you from hydroplaning or losing control of the wheel.
9. Increase Your Following Distance
Rear-end collisions are one of the most common car accidents throughout the year and are even harder to avoid during the winter season. That’s why it is necessary to increase your following distance when driving in the snow and ice. The dry-pavement following distance is to three to four seconds but this should be increased to eight to ten seconds when driving in the snow. Doing this will help keep you safe from rear-ending someone else and will give you more distance if you need to stop.
10. Be Prepared to Stay Home
Sometimes the weather can make it impossible for you to leave the house in your car. If it is advised not to drive, don’t drive. Staying home isn’t so bad after all, especially if it means keeping your family safe. If you don’t have anywhere you need to be, try to stay home. You can’t always trust other drivers to be as safe as you and it’s not worth the risk.
Have a wonderful winter season and stay safe!
If you are looking for a way to sort and manage your kids’ activities and rides to school download the Figure8 app here.
Be sure to check out our latest feature! You can now notify your school if your child is going to be late or absent. This feature is perfect for the setbacks that come with winter conditions. If your school is not already signed up with our Attendance and Dismissal Manager, sign up your school here.