Winter is in full swing, and many parts of the country are experiencing the incredible strength of Mother Nature. With snowstorms bearing down on the Upper Midwest, rain pounding the Pacific Northwest, and thunderstorms predicted for some parts of the South, we compiled a comprehensive list of Esurance driving resources. You might call it our winter driving remix. Or you might just call it a handful of helpful tips.
How to drive in adverse weather conditions
Apart from not driving at all, the best way to handle icy roads is to drive slowly and cautiously. Leave plenty of room between your car and the car in front of it, and gently brake for stop signs and red lights ahead of time. Try to avoid slamming on the brakes, too, because it could lead to skidding. And beware of ice on bridges, overpasses, and seldom-used roads.
Slow down by pumping your brakes and leave plenty of room in front of your car. You can prep your car for snowy conditions by replacing older windshield wipers and checking your tires. A tire needs a tread that’s at least 6/32-inch deep (a new tire is typically 10/32). It’s also a good idea to have a bag of sand and a shovel in your car just in case.
Hail is snow’s angry brother, and it can seriously damage your car. If you’re already on the road, try to get your car underneath something like an overpass. Hail causes over $1 billion in damages every year, and the best way to protect your car is to keep it covered until the storm passes.
It’s safer than ice or hail, but don’t let it fool you. It’s easy to hydroplane (when the water prevents your tires from hitting the road) in the rain at speeds over 50 mph.
To help you manage these challenges and stay safe during the wet months, here are 5 tips for driving in the rain.
That sunshine sure is nice, but it may be trying to trick you. If it rained or snowed recently and the thermometer’s around freezing, be wary of black ice left over from yesterday’s weather. Black ice is notoriously difficult to spot, so keep it in mind as you start your drive. If you find yourself skidding and it’s too late, the first thing to do is release the gas pedal. Then turn into the direction of the skid without slamming the brakes.
Avoid floods while driving
Of course, the more it rains the more likely floods and flooded roads become. Did you know that just 6 inches of water is enough to reach the bottom of most passenger cars and in some cases enough to sweep a car away?
Find out how to avoid flood-driving (as well as flood-damaged cars).
Your winter car kit
Part of being prepared for winter driving means being prepared to be stuck. No matter how good a winter driver you may be, you never know when conditions might worsen to the point that your only option is to pull over and wait it out. When this happens, you’d be wise to have your winter car kit fully stocked.
Check out our 11 must-haves for your winter car kit to make sure you have everything you need.
And because November signals the beginning of deer-mating season and a related increase in accidents involving cars and animals, don’t miss this post on how to steer clear of Bambi.
Whether you’re facing down a blizzard in Babbitt, Minnesota, or waiting out a thunderstorm in South Ogeechee, Georgia, use these tips to stay safe (and hopefully warm and dry) this winter.
Other helpful winter tips
Don’t get caught out in the cold this holiday season — winterize your car before it’s too late!
Winterize your home to avoid these 6 nightmare scenarios
Don’t let depreciation defeat you: 4 smart tips for buying a car