During the winter, Chicagoland can be a nightmare of inclement weather. As a result, the roads are often treacherous and difficult to navigate for even the most seasoned driver, making safe driving habits a must. Defensive and safe driving is even more important during this time of year.
You shouldn’t let winter weather keep you inside, as long as you know how to take to the roads. These safe driving tips for winter will help you be prepared for whatever weather comes your way.
1. Watch out for thawing
When you contemplate the dangers of driving during bad weather, you may not even think about the dangers that exist after bad weather has passed. Roadways that are thawing out after an ice or snow storm present several dangers that you should be aware of before heading out.
It may appear that all of the ice has melted, but you could fall victim to a hidden patch of black ice and go sliding. It wouldn’t be the first time. It’s imperative to be vigilant and extra careful, watching out for sludge, leftover ice and standing water, even as weather conditions improve.
Make sure to keep a safe distance between you and other vehicles, as they may sling sludge, ice and grime onto your windshield as they drive, affecting visibility and creating a dangerous disadvantage for you.
2. Decrease your speed
One of the most effective ways to mitigate your chances of a winter-weather-related auto accident is to simply slow down. Speed creates hazards at nearly every turn when harsh winter conditions affect the roads. From ice, to sludge, to hidden pools of water, driving a safe 5 to 10 miles per hour slower than you usually do will help you be prepared for any unexpected hazards and give you time to adjust to your vehicle’s reaction.
3. Don’t overestimate four-wheel drive
Just because you drive a large, four-wheel drive SUV doesn’t mean you’re automatically immune to winter weather hazards. Four-wheel drive vehicles have no advantage over two-wheel drive vehicles when it comes to steering a braking. That means the same level of forethought and vigilance is necessary when driving any vehicle, whether it’s two- or four-wheel drive.
4. Service your car religiously
Breaking down in the summertime is a much different matter than breaking down in a blizzard. Getting stuck in the middle of nowhere when it’s freezing could potentially threaten your life, not to mention the life of your vehicle. It’s vital that you keep your car serviced throughout winter. The tiniest problem could be exacerbated by the cold temperatures, putting you in a terrible situation.
Check your cooling system, your brakes, your belts and your battery. Make sure that each of these vital components of your vehicle is completely up to code. Doing so will give you the peace of mind and the confidence to face the winter weather conditions in your car.
5. When in doubt, leave the driving to someone else
Especially if you’re visiting an unfamiliar city where getting lost is a real possibility, it might be worth it to allow someone else to drive. Trying to navigate and contend with winter weather conditions, especially those common in Chicago, could be a recipe for disaster.
If you don’t feel confident navigating Chicago during the winter weather, consider hiring a professional car service like OML Worldwide to handle your commutes during your visit. You won’t have to worry about getting lost in sub-zero temperatures, and you won’t have to stress over your vehicle being strained in an environment it isn’t used to.
Contact OML Worldwide today to learn how we can help you navigate Chicagoland this winter.