The USDOT Federal Highway Administration data lists an average of 1,836 deaths and 136,309 injuries per year due to snowy and icy roads.
Did you know that the average icy road fatality count is 3.6 times the total deaths from all other weather hazards combined (507, the 10 year average).
With winter officially upon us, road conditions in many places have become more hazardous. And whether you’re the one plowing the roads or commuting to work, your employees could all use a refresher on some tips for driving safe this winter season.
- Maintain a safe following distance. It takes longer to stop on a slippery road. Look ahead and keep plenty of distance between you and the other cars (at least four seconds).
- Drop your speed to match road conditions. The posted speed is the maximum speed under ideal conditions. In winter, it is safer to drive below the posted speed. No matter how much experience you have, the way your vehicle will move on snow or ice always has an element of unpredictability. Watch for black ice. Slow down when approaching icy areas such as shaded areas, bridges and overpasses as these sections of road freeze sooner than others in cold weather.
- Watch for “black ice”, areas of the road with a thing, almost invisible coating of ice, as it can cause our vehicle to suddenly lose control when you brake or corner.
- Accelerate and brake slowly. On slick roads, start slowly and accelerate gradually to maintain traction and avoid spinning your wheels. When stopping, plan well in advance, apply the brakes gently and slowly add pressure. Never brake suddenly. If your vehicle is equipped with an anti-lock braking system (ABS), do not “pump” the brakes. Apply constant pressure and let the system do its work.
- Avoid sudden moves. Slow down and steer smoothly and gradually to avoid skidding. Accelerate gently, turn slowly, and brake carefully and early. Avoid unexpected quick movements that could put you in a spin. Anticipate turns, stops, and lane changes well before they occur.
- Know how to handle a skid. A skid happens when your wheels slide out of control on a slippery surface and is a result of driving too fast for road conditions. If you start to skid, ease off the brake or accelerator, and look and steer smoothly in the direction you want to go. Be careful not to over-steer. If you are on ice and skidding in a straight line, step on the clutch or shift to neutral.
- Don’t tailgate. Tailgating becomes much worse in winter weather. Stopping takes much longer on snowy and icy roads than on dry pavement, so be sure to leave enough room between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
- No Cruise Control. Never use cruise control if conditions are snowy, icy, or wet, because if your car hydroplanes, your car will try to accelerate and you may lose control of your vehicle
- Pay attention. Manoeuvres are more difficult to make in the snow. Be sure to anticipate what your next move is going to be to give yourself lots of room for turns and stopping.
- See and be seen. It is critical for drivers to see and be seen in low light conditions, and when blowing snow impairs visibility. Always drive with your headlights on.
Winter driving can sometimes be a daunting task, especially when conditions are snowy or icy. If road conditions are dangerous, consider making alternate travel arrangements or postponing your trip until conditions improve.
Be A Better Supervisor
Do your employees know some of the main risks with winter driving? Use this infographic to educate your employees before the roads become hazardous due to the weather.