Safe Winter Driving Tips

The winter season is one of the most dangerous times to drive. With freezing temperatures working against your vehicle, hazardous driving conditions with snow and ice, and the potential risk of skidding out into a snow pile – it’s important to take precautions and learn about safe winter driving. We at Excel want to make sure you’re informed and stay on the road this winter season.

Remember the 3 P’s of safe driving: PREPARE for the trip; PROTECT yourself; and PREVENT crashes on the road.


1- Have on-hand: flashlight, jumper cables, abrasive material (sand, kitty litter, even floor mats), shovel, snow brush and ice scraper, warning devices (like flares) and blankets. For long trips, add food and water, medication and cell phone.


2- Maintain your car: We suggest you check battery, windshield wipers, and your antifreeze levels. Keep your gas tank at least half full. Always clear all windows and lights of frost and snow after a storm – that poses a hazard to both you and those around you.

3- Consider putting “all-season” tires on your car to improve stability and control in for the winter months. Under-inflated tires may provide less traction, reduce fuel mileage, and can wear out prematurely. As temperatures drop, so does the pressure in your tires. Look for your vehicle’s correct tire pressure on an informative tag within the driver’s doorjamb or in your owner’s manual. Find your local Excel Tire Gauge machine to properly calibrate your tires!

4- Plan your route: Allow plenty of time to get where you’re going, be familiar with your route, and let others know your arrival time. Watch weather reports prior to a long-distance drive or before driving in isolated areas. Delay trips when especially bad weather is expected.


5- Practice cold-weather driving! We suggest that, during the daylight, rehearse maneuvers slowly on ice or snow in an empty lot and steer into a skid. Know what your brakes will do: stomp on antilock brakes, pump on non-antilock brakes. Stopping distances are longer on water-covered ice and ice. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids; don’t try to get moving in a hurry.


6- Use child safety seats properly. Never place a rear-facing infant seat in front of an air bag. Children 12 and under are much safer in the back seat.


7- While driving, slow down and increase distances between cars. Keep your eyes open for pedestrians walking in the road. Use your seatbelt every time you get into your vehicle.

8- Drugs and alcohol never mix with driving. If you are planning to drink, designate a sober driver. Also, avoid fatigue – get plenty of rest before the trip, stop at least every three hours, and rotate drivers if possible.


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