Winter is coming and there are two things in this world that we know for sure:
You need to focus on winter driving safety at all times, and, perhaps more importantly, Jon Snow knows nothing!
While we are on the road and away from our warm and cozy homes where we can binge-watch Game of Thrones, driving safety should be a priority. Losing control and sliding off an icy road is a possibility. In heavy snowfall, other drivers might not see you and run into you. Even worse, if you get stuck or get into an accident, the reduced visibility may mean that no one will see you, and you will be left stranded.
If you live in an area that is affected by the cold, then you are already aware of the dangers.
In this article, we discuss nine vital tools to help keep you safe if you’re driving in winter weather.
1. Distress Flag
We are starting out with a distress flag for a reason. If you experience trouble and the weather is freezing and windy, you can’t stay outside of your vehicle waving your arms like a crazy person.
It’s far more important to stay warm until help can find you. So while you are in your vehicle trying to stay out of the cold, we need to give people a reason to look back and think, “Is that guy okay?”
The distress flag is the first line of defense when it comes to getting the attention of other drivers.
2. Road Flares
You don’t want drivers running into you. And, if your phone is dead or you otherwise can’t do so yourself, you want them to call for help.
Nothing signals “danger” or “watch out” more than a road flare. The light emitted from a road flare is strong enough to be seen at great distances and also helps illuminate the surrounding area, which comes in handy during heavy snowfall when visibility is low.
The best part about road flares is that they work in all weather conditions, and they’re a great safety tool to keep in your vehicle year-round.
We recommend checking out products by Orion Signals, a trusted name in safety that is used by fire departments, police departments, and other government organizations. They have several bundle offers for road flares to meet a variety of safety and budget needs.
3. Winter Snow Tires
For many of us, all-season tires are appealing for winter driving because you only have to invest in a single set of tires, you don’t have to swap out your tires seasonally, and you don’t have to find a place to store your off-season set of tires. Unfortunately, in places that receive heavy snowfall, all-season tires just don’t cut it. According to Gene Peterson, program manager at C&R Tire, “Even though all-season tires offer good traction in most weather conditions, they are a compromise.”
They are not great for any single type of driving, Peterson further adds, “They neither perform as well in the dry and wet as summer tires nor give as much traction in snow as winter/snow tires.”
If you live in California, Texas, or another relatively tame state when it comes to the weather, then you won’t have a problem.
Luckily, for those of you who have to shovel your way out of the house, companies have embraced new technology to create great snow tires for winter driving. To find the best snow tires for you, we recommend checking out this review of multiple snow tire brands from Consumersearch.
4. Snow Chains
Before you go out and buy snow chains, we recommend investing in some good tires for winter driving. Snow chains can be a supplement to your snow tires if you think they might not be enough. They’re also a good addition to your winter driving kit if you live in areas where snowy or icy conditions only happen briefly and sporadically throughout the winter season, and snow tires don’t make sense as an investment.
However, snow chains have some drawbacks. You have to drive very slowly in chains. If you are not driving in heavily snow-covered areas or icy conditions, then snow chains can become a burden instead of a helpful tool.
If you feel that you need snow chains, read up on some of the best brands and choose what is best for your situation.
5. Ice Scraper
This one is straightforward. If you can’t see, winter driving will be dangerous. Duh!
This is where the ice scraper comes in handy. If you find your windshield frozen over with ice, whip out an ice scraper and scrape it off. It’s that simple. During wintertime, this can happen to you, even if you live somewhere that has mild winters. A basic scraper only costs a few bucks, and it totally works better than trying to carve out a peephole in your frozen windshield with a credit card. Invest in one now!
6. Thermal Blanket
Remember when we said that it isn’t safe to go outside and wave cars down? That is dangerous for a lot of reasons, but one of the biggest dangers is cold. You must stay warm.
If you find yourself trapped and unable to free your car, you might want to keep your car on and run the heater. If you do this, make sure your exhaust isn’t covered with snow, otherwise harmful fumes can make their way into your car.
However, if your car’s heater isn’t an option, a thermal blanket can help you stay warm by trapping your body heat. Also known as “space blankets,” thermal blankets are inexpensive and take up little room in your glove box or console. You never know when you might find yourself stranded. In this case, a thermal blanket can save your life.
7. Portable Jump Starter
Snow is flying everywhere. The wind is blowing hard. Cars are slipping and sliding.
Sometimes it just does not make sense to have someone else jump your car with their car battery. That’s why we recommend investing in a portable jump starter. If your car doesn’t turn on because the battery died, you won’t have to hope someone comes to save you.
Whip out your portable jump starter and get your car back on the road. Here is an article reviewing multiple portable jump starters for people who have different budgets and needs.
8. Utility Snow Shovel
This is another valuable tool if you get stuck due to adverse winter driving conditions. You want to gain traction again, and the snow is keeping you from getting that traction. A utility snow shovel is smaller than a regular snow shovel and can be packed in the trunk of your car.
Use the shovel to dig the snow out from under your wheels. If needed, dig a pathway to give your car some extra traction to prevent getting stuck again.
9. Snow Salt
Snow salt is a great way to do two things: (1) melt snow and (2) get better traction under your wheels.
As well, it can help you melt down a pathway for your car to get back on the road. It is cheap and also fantastic for keeping your driveway clear.
Don’t be the guy pouring epsom salt on his tires. Sure, some salt is better than nothing, but invest in salt designed to get rid of snow.
Winter driving is dangerous. Even if you are an experienced driver, sometimes the weather is out to get you. That’s why you need to be prepared for an emergency (even if one never happens). Also, make sure you bring a cell phone and keep it charged. Calling emergency services is the best solution to any life-threatening situation you might find yourself in.
Stay safe and don’t let winter keep you from living your life!
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