Illinois gets a lot of snow during the winter months. Combined with cold temperatures and high winds, this can cause a lot of issues while driving. Whether someone is a new driver, is new to the state or has been driving in these conditions for years, it is always a good idea to review safety tips to prevent accidents on the road.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 17% of accidents happen during snow and icy conditions. Before even getting on the road, it is important the vehicle is in good shape. This means regular maintenance of the wipers, battery, tires and coolant. Drivers should also clear off all ice and snow and make sure headlights, sensors, windows and taillights are clear before driving.
General safety tips are especially important during winter conditions. These include wearing seatbelts, driving slower and planning the route ahead of time.
The American Automobile Association recommends leaving adequate room between vehicles, and a following distance of around six seconds is ideal to stop safely. Traction is an issue during these conditions, so drivers should apply the gas and brakes slowly to avoid skids. Avoid stopping, if possible, to keep inertia rolling.
Whether slowing down or stopping, know how to use the brakes. Most newer vehicles have antilock brakes, and the best way is to apply a steady pressure on the pedal with the ball of the foot while the heel remains on the floor.
Hills present a challenge in both snowy and icy conditions. If a hill is up ahead, gain some momentum on a flat surface so there is no stopping once the driver reaches the hill. After reaching the top, steadily reduce speed to make it down the other side.