Before embarking on a long trip to Grandma’s house this holiday season, make sure your vehicle is prepared to handle any type of weather that the Midwest throws at you. Snow, ice, sleet, and freezing rain are common winter accident culprits. Knowing how to prepare your car to avoid weather related crashes will allow you, your family, and other vehicles around you to have a safe and enjoyable holiday season this year. Here are some winter driving tips to keep you safe this holiday season.

Clean Off Your Car

Good visibility is important during winter driving. It is important to completely clean the snow and frost off your car to make sure you have visibility from all angles while driving. Give yourself plenty of time before driving so that your vehicle has time to warm up and melt the frost off your car windows.

Be Aware of Dropping Temperatures

Always be aware of the temperature outside when driving during snowy or rainy conditions. Once the temperature drops below freezing, the roads can freeze over, causing very slippery roadway conditions. Always drive slow and brake early. Slamming on the brakes can result in your car sliding all over the roadway. Reduce your speed when driving on bridges and overpasses because these roadways tend to freeze first. Exit and entrance ramps onto highways can also be dangerous, so it is important to reduce your speed on these roadways. When road conditions are dangerous, you should always drive below the posted speed limit. The speed limits are for dry, clear roadways only.

Avoid Cruise Control

Cruise control can be dangerous when roadways are slippery. Avoid cruise control when there is a possibility of slick roadways. Activating and deactivating cruise control can cause your car to lose control when the roadways are slick.

Turn On Headlights

Just because you can see clearly doesn’t mean other cars around you can see you. Car tires will spit up slow and ice and cause driving visibility to decrease. Always keep your headlights on when it is raining, snowing, or sleeting, in order to protect you and other drivers around you.

Watch for Snow Plows

The snow plows are there to make the roadways safer. Take caution and slow down when passing a snow plow. The snow plows will kick up a lot of snow, and can especially affect roadway visibility if it’s windy. Drive slow and remember that the safest place to be during a storm is a safe following distance behind a plow.

Winter Car Supplies You Need

Keep your car stocked with the necessary supplies to be prepared in case of an emergency. Here’s a list of things you should always have in your car during the winter:

  • Booster cables
  • Small shovel
  • Ice scraper
  • Warm clothing – winter coat, gloves, hat, boots
  • Blankets
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Flashlight

Winter Safety by ServiceMaster by Rice

If you find yourself in an accident or witness an accident this winter – you should immediately call 911 to notify emergency response personnel. ServiceMaster by Rice can assist with accident or injury cleanup in Des Moines, Atlantic, Carroll, Spencer, Storm Lake, Okoboji, Cedar Rapids and Fairmont, Minnesota.

All of our staff at ServiceMaster wants to wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday season!