Drivers in northern states like Minnesota still have several months of winter weather ahead of them. During this period, it is important to remain vigilant about safety on winter roads and not become complacent.
Snow, ice and freezing cold can still cause unfavorable and sometimes dangerous road conditions. Staying apprised of current conditions and responding with appropriate safety measures can help you to avoid an accident. Here are five tips to keep in mind as winter gradually gives way to spring.
- Take care on bridges
The ground has insulating properties that can slow the development of ice on the road. Bridges extend out over open space, though, and so tend to be icy when the roads are not. Even if there is not an advisory sign, assume that any bridge may be frozen and slippery.
- Check the forecast for the entire route
If you have a long way to travel, the weather where you start out may be very different from where you arrive. Be sure to check what the weather is likely to do at your destination, at your departure point and everywhere in between.
- Watch your speed
When the road is wet or icy, you cannot turn, brake or accelerate as you usually do. Each action takes more time and room, and if you attempt such maneuvers while driving too fast, you may be more likely to lose control of the vehicle.
- Budget extra time
To avoid the temptation to speed to arrive at your destination on schedule, plan more time for your trips than you would ordinarily require.
- Create a greater space cushion
Under dry conditions, most vehicles need at least three seconds to come to a complete stop. When the road is slippery, this can increase to 10 seconds. Increasing the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you can give you the time you need to halt your vehicle safely.
Though it may seem otherwise sometimes, winter will not last forever. Remember that you can look forward to conditions improving within a few months.