skip to main content

Although it’s best to simply avoid the roads during heavy snow, even with milder winters you’re still likely to encounter it. Below are a few tips to make sure your trip is a safe one.

Be prepared

If you’re leaving on a long trip, check the weather forecast to make sure roads will still be open when you get there. Plan your route and allow plenty of time to get there.

Get your vehicle ready

Fill the petrol and wiper fluid tanks to full, make sure the tyres are properly inflated, and your car has been tuned up and is running smoothly before you leave. When temperatures drop, so does battery power, so make sure your battery has sufficient voltage, amperage, and reserve capacity, or replace it before you go. Consider installing heavy-duty winter windscreen wipers and using winter-specific washer fluid.

Practice driving in the snow

If you’re not used to driving in the snow, take your car to an empty parking lot to see how it performs in slippery conditions and practice making stops and turns. That will help you familiarise yourself with how the antilock brakes and electronic stability control will work, and what you need to do to keep the vehicle under control.

Stock up

Pack extra blankets, coats, boots, food, water, a flashlight, snow shovel, ice scraper and brush, and jumper cables in your vehicle, along with sand or cat litter (to help with tyre traction), in case your car gets stuck in the snow. And make sure to bring your mobile phone and car charger.

Drive slower than usual

While driving too slowly can also cause accidents, it’s harder to control and stop vehicles when the road is slick or covered in snow. Increase the distance between you and the car in front of you and allow plenty of time to stop.

Know your car’s braking system

If you can avoid it, choose a route without a lot of traffic lights or places you’ll need to stop. But, if you need to stop, make sure you know the best way for your car. If your vehicle has antilock brakes, you’ll need to apply firm, continuous pressure on the brake pedal to stop the car. If you don’t have antilock brakes, pumping your breaks works well if you feel your wheels locking up.

Don’t power up (or stop) when going up hills

Gunning the gas when going up snowy hills just starts your wheels spinning faster, which can cause you to lose traction and slip. Applying the brakes when going uphill is also not advised, because you may have a hard time getting started again without slipping. Start accelerating before you reach the hill so you have enough momentum to reach the top. Keep your foot pressure light and even on the gas pedal, and if your wheels start to spin, slowly ease off.

Keep an eye on other drivers

While you may be a good snow driver, not everyone else is. Scan your mirrors and blind spots regularly to see how those around you are driving and avoid those who seem like they’re driving too fast, too slow, or erratically.

Make sure you’re covered

As always, make sure you have a good insurance policy that will cover you if you’re in an accident. Talk to your broker about your coverage today.

Sources:

http://www.safewinterroads.org/safety/

https://exchange.aaa.com/safety/driving-advice/winter-driving-tips/#.XEnikVVKjcs

https://www.nhtsa.gov/winter-driving-tips

All content in this material is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute personal advice or a recommendation to any individual or business of any product or service. Please refer to the policy documentation issued for full terms and conditions of coverage.

Chubb European Group SE (CEG).  Operating in the UK through a branch based at 100 Leadenhall Street, London EC3A 3BP.  Risks falling within the European Economic Area are underwritten by CEG which is governed by the provisions of the French insurance code.  Registered company number: 450 327 374 RCS Nanterre.  Registered office: La Tour Carpe Diem, 31 Place des Corolles, Esplanade Nord, 92400 Courbevoie, France. Fully paid share capital of €896,176,662. 

Have a question?

Our brokers are ready to help.