Driving in the winter can be dangerous, even in the warmer states. For those living around Lakewood, Colorado, however, the chance for serious winter road conditions is a very real threat. While the average city in the Unites States sees a little over 25 inches of snow every winter, the Lakewood area averages nearly three times more, with almost 77 inches of snow each winter.
That much accumulation means that driving during the winter can be particularly dangerous. Snow on the roads can lead to a host of dangerous conditions, including black ice in areas where snow melts and re-freezes onto the pavement and white-outs caused by drifting and blowing snow.
If you haven’t already done so, it’s time now to prepare for winter road conditions. Doing so could decrease your risk of a collision or crash and the life-altering injuries that often accompany them.
Make sure your vehicle is ready for the cold
For many people, winter vehicle preparation includes upgrading to snow tires or just having newer tires with better traction installed. Doing so is a smart move, because traction in slippery conditions can be the difference between crashing and driving away safely. Good traction helps you stop, steer and stay on the road.
It’s also important to have the mechanical systems of your vehicle inspected by a mechanic whom you trust. The last thing you want while driving in a blizzard is to experience a vehicle issue that could have been prevented with a little maintenance.
Finally, you should pack some items in your truck in case you get into a crash or end up stuck on the side of the road or in a ditch. Last year’s boots, along with warm socks, an extra pair of pants or coat, a hat and good mittens can all help you brave the cold while waiting for help. Flares are also a great idea, because they can reduce the risk of someone hitting your stranded vehicle.
Take the time you need to get there safely
Unlike the public schools, which close when the roads aren’t safe for travel, your employer probably expects you to arrive at work on time despite the weather conditions. That means you need to adjust your winter morning routine to ensure you have time for slower travel speeds. Getting up earlier and leaving earlier can allow you to calmly travel a slower speeds that reflect the current road conditions.
You should also take a few moments before you leave to warm up your vehicle. Letting the engine run for five minutes or so ensures it won’t stutter or stall due to the cold. It also helps keep you warm, because the heater will pump in warm air. Cold cars can lead to intense shivering, which could diminish your ability to control your vehicle.