Winter driving conditions can be difficult for any driver. But, if you’re conducting a household move, manning a larger vehicle than you’re accustomed to or towing a trailer behind you, then driving even a short distance in the snow, ice or wind can go from difficult to harrowing. There are precautions you can take, though.
Here are some safe driving tips that can help make sure you and your belongings make it to your new address without complications:
Stay alert and track weather conditions. While it’s never a good idea to drive if you’re tired or distracted, it’s even worse to do so in the winter when you’re operating a larger, unfamiliar vehicle. Winter weather can change quickly, and you need to be alert and prepared at all times. Check the weather and road conditions and plan your travel in advance. Mark alternate routes, and let someone know your route and anticipated arrival time.
Drive slowly and increase your following distance. Give yourself plenty of time to arrive safely at your destination. Because heavier vehicles require a greater distance to stop, you need to drive more slowly than you would in a car and also increase the following distance between your vehicle and the one in front. This is especially true when driving on icy or slippery surfaces.
Understand how to stay in control of your vehicle. Get familiar with the vehicle before you set out. Note the location of the windshield wipers, the hazard lights and other basic controls. And, consider a test run in a parking lot, so you can learn how the vehicle handles. Once on the road, if you find yourself in a skid, follow the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommendation to ease off the gas and steer in the direction you want to travel. Stay off the pedals (both gas and brake) until you regain control of your vehicle, the NHTSA says.
Plan for an emergency. Pack an emergency kit with a flashlight, blanket, some extra clothing, jumper cables and any additional supplies you might need to get by in wintry weather, and keep the number of an emergency roadside service handy. If your vehicle becomes disabled, the NHTSA suggests staying with your vehicle and, if possible, running the engine for short periods every now and then to keep warm. (Make sure your exhaust pipe is clear of snow drifts or other obstructions). When in doubt, wait until road or weather conditions improve before setting out. Patience and a bit of preparation can help make sure your winter move is hassle-free.
This post comes from the editors of The Allstate Blog, which helps people prepare for the unpredictability of life.