Winter driving can be precarious, even if it’s not snowy. With temperature fluctuation causing snow to melt and re-freeze, thin layers of ice on the roadways are not uncommon. Black ice, as it is know, can cause accidents in an instant, and the worst part is they are nearly impossible to avoid if you skid out on the ice. That being said, there are some winter driving tips that may decrease your chances of being in an accident during blustery winter weather.

Cold temperature raise the risk for drivers.

Outfit Your Car for the Weather

Consider putting snow tires on your vehicle for the winter months. While they’re not required by law, they do help give your car more traction on the road. You may also want to consider putting something heavy (for instance, a bag of cat litter or some hand weights) in the trunk to weigh down the back end and make the vehicle easier to control. Keep some cold weather supplies in your vehicle. A now brush and ice scraper are essential, and if you live in a place where it snows a lot, you may want to keep a small shovel in the trunk in case you have to dig your car out of a parking space. Store things like a blanket, hand warmers, and extra layers, just in case your car breaks down. Another thing that may not be a bad idea to have is a car charger for your phone, in case you find yourself stuck and needing help with a phone that’s almost dead.

Take Extra Caution

The best defensive driving tips in winter months amount to being far more cautious than normal. Leave a lot more space between you and the cars around you, and know your brakes—be very familiar and comfortable with how they react to snow and other harsh weather. Accelerate slower than you typically would, because applying too much gas can cause the tires to spin out. Be extra careful on hills—if a road is slick, try as much as you can to make it to the top of the hill before stopping, so that your car doesn’t lose traction and slide backwards into another car.

Make sure to give yourself extra time to get to and from places, so that you don’t end up rushing and driving dangerously in order to stay in line with your schedule. 

Generally, winter driving should be handled with care – go slow, leave early for places you need to be, and keep your eyes focused on the road. Don’t drive distracted. Should you get into an accident, stay calm, exchange information with the other driver, and if necessary, contact a car accident lawyer for additional help.