5 Tips for Winter Driving in Virginia

  • Dec 2, 2020
  • Resources & Tips

Driving in the snow, sleet, and rain is a challenge for drivers of all skill levels. And with winter nights getting longer the darkness can make driving that much more difficult. We want to make sure everyone is safe on the roads this winter so we’re sharing our top 5 tips for handling these tricky winter driving conditions.

1. Stay Calm and Drive Slow

If the roads are snowy and icy cars can easily lose traction with the road, especially going around corners or when stopping. The best thing to do is drive slow and don’t panic. Avoid slamming on the breaks, and if you do need to break quickly you should pump your breaks if your car doesn’t already have an Automatic Braking System (ABS). If you have standard shifting consider gearing down especially when going down hills. Most importantly, remain calm, panicking will only make the situation worse. If your car starts to slide, keep calm and do your best to turn into the direction of the slide. 

2. Give Yourself Space

Always be sure to give yourself ample space between you and the vehicle in front of you, but this is especially important in adverse driving conditions. Not only will this give you more room if your car starts to slide, it also allows vehicles coming from the opposite direction to see you better, and it creates a buffer space if the car behind you is following too close for comfort. The extra couple of feet you give yourself could provide that half second you need to avoid an accident.

3. Plan and Prepare

When you need to travel in poor driving conditions, plan your route carefully; you want to stay on well trafficked roads that have been plowed and de-iced if possible. Make sure you can see others and be seen. Clear all the snow off your car and don’t neglect the roof. If you have snow on the roof and you break too fast all that snow can end up on your windshield! Remember to turn your headlights on in bad weather, even if it’s the middle of the day, being seen is vital to road safety. 

4. Put On Winter Tires

We get snow in Virginia, especially if you live in the mountains. While we might not get as much snow as some states, you’re always better to be safe than sorry. Be prepared and make sure your car is sporting it’s winter tires or winter rated all weather tires. If you’re unsure about whether your tires are appropriate for snow look for the snowflake symbol on the side of the tire, if it has it you’re good to go!

5. Take Your Car in For a Winter Overhaul

While you have your car in getting its tires changed over, get them to check the whole car over and ensure everything looks good for winter. These checks should include the electrical, heating & cooling systems, exhaust, windshield wipers and your breaks. These systems are all crucial especially during the winter months, and it can make a world of difference. Getting these checked beforehand might even keep you from getting stranded on the side of the road. 

Follow these tips and you will be safer on the roads this winter. Accidents do happen, but proper preparation can help prevent them. When you need to get your car winter-ready, or if you do get into a fender bender this winter bring your car into Warrenton Auto, we’ll have you back on the road in no time!