Tips to Stay Safe on the Roads This Winter
It's only halfway into December, and not even officially winter yet, and we've already had a number of challenging travel days in Ocean County.
I like to think that I've always been a careful, thoughtful driver, but since my recent, terrifying experience on the Garden State Parkway, I've been even more aware of road conditions and what's going on around me.
As we get more dodgy weather, here are a few safe driving tips to keep in mind:
- When it snows, clean off your car completely - it's not only the considerate thing to do but, for the past few years, it's the law. Brushing snow off the roof of a big SUV might be a hassle, but telescoping snow brushes can make the chore a lot easier...and save you a possible ticket.
- Keep a safe distance - Of all the bad driving habits that some of us have (let's be honest, almost all of us, myself included, speed on occasion), I think that tailgating is one of the most dangerous. You just never know what could happen with the car in front of you. The driver might swerve, suddenly hit their brakes, or skid. If you're right on top of their rear bumper, you'll have no time to react. When the roads are wet and slick, you need to give yourself plenty of room between cars.
- Wipers on/lights on - this is another law that some people don't realize is on the books. In the state of New Jersey, when the weather requires you to have your windshield wipers on, you must have your headlights on. In addition, the law also states that your headlights have to be on when visibility is 500 feet or less. So, basically, if it's not sunny and dry, your headlights should be on.
- And, one of my biggest pet peeves - turn the brights off! I would say that in the past few years I've seen a lot more people driving with their high beams on when there are a lot of other cars around. There are few things worse when you're trying to concentrate on a snowy road than a pair of blinding lights shining right into your eyes. Whether it's coming up behind you or on the other side of the road, being blinded by someone's high beams could lead to disaster if it causes you to not see something on the road. Plus, it's just common courtesy to turn your brights off when other cars are around.
All of these tips are either common sense and/or common courtesy. If we all keep these simple rules in mind, we'll have a safe winter driving season.
What are some of your winter driving pet peeves? Tell us in the comments!