Safety Tips for Winter Driving

I was just ten minutes away from home on my hour drive from work, when the cars in front of me started to hit their brakes. We just had a big snow storm and the temperatures were nearly below zero. Seeing the red brake lights in front of me light up like a christmas tree I automatically hit my breaks too. My Subaru instantly started to fish tail back and forth as I was getting closer to the cars in front of me. Looking at my speed amador I was going 65 mph and had no control of the car as it slid on the black ice. Suddenly my car flipped around and I was going backwards, bracing for impact. All I could think about was, please be painless, please be a quick death, and I hope my family loves me. I had accepted death at that moment and then my car hit a dry patch, spun back around and softly went into the ditch.

A True Story Impacted How I Drive Safely in Winter Conditions

This in fact is a true story and it has made a huge impact on how I drive safely in bad conditions, especially when it’s icy. The police officer that arrived on the scene told me I was lucky to be alive. He said, “if it wasn’t for the amount of snow that was plowed into the deep ditch, I most likely would have flipped my car and could have been seriously injured, or dead.” 

Landing in a ditch during winter driving conditions

I used to live in Colorado and would drive to Aspen, Colorado to work at the Snowmass Ski Resort. Many days I witnessed first hand cars going too fast and losing control, and that day in particular I was one of them. Nothing is more terrifying than having no control of your vehicle and wondering if you are going to make it out alive. Luckily the snow plows had just come through and created a soft crashing point when my Subaru finally turned back around and went into the ditch. But most importantly I was so lucky to have walked away not injured along with anyone else. 

Driving in Winter

Safety Tips for Winter Driving:

  • Always allow plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front of you. 
  • When slowing down avoid using the brakes until you feel you’re at a comfortable speed to do so. 
  • If you drive a Manual transmission, or have the Manual option on your vehicle, downshift to avoid using your brakes and to keep your vehicle at a safe speed.
  • Be aware of the drivers around you and their habits. Most of the time it’s the other drivers that cause accidents, not you. If someone speeds past you and is not driving safely, avoid being near that vehicle. 
  • If you see caution ahead, warn others by turning on your hazards.
  • When driving down a mountain pass put your vehicle into a lower gear to avoid using your brakes and losing control. 
  • Always carry water, snacks, a blanket, flashlight and a first aid kit in your vehicle. 
  • Going slower is always safer than going fast. 
  • Make sure you have plenty of gas in case you’re stuck in traffic or on the side of the road so you can keep your vehicle running to stay warm. 
  • Check the road conditions before heading out and if possible avoid being on the road during a storm for the safety of everyone. 
winter driving

It’s a good idea to cary a First Aid Kit

Please drive safe!

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