• Steve Schmidt - Drive Safe Missoula

Winter Driving - It's Here.

Hello Safe Drivers,


Winter Driving. Are you ready? Ready or not, here it comes, but let me take a moment to help you get ready and now is the time.


Snow Tires

Now or later. One thing that will cause lines at the tire shop is snow in the forecast. This means you might be able to beat the crowds if you can get your vehicle in sooner than later.




Planning

Here's a few things to consider and check before the winter weather and routinely throughout the winter.

  1. Is the washer fluid full and do I have good wiper blades?

  2. Is my vehicle in good mechanical condition (i.e. All lights working, Winter Appropriate Tires,

  3. Do I have warm clothes and a blanket stored in the car?

  4. Do I have jumper cables?

  5. Do I have a working flashlight? Note: It gets dark earlier and I wouldn't rely on your phones flashlight.


Driving

Colder weather and roads means we really need to adjust our driving behaviors. Even when the pavment is clear and dry, tires act differently on colder dry pavement than they do on hot dry pavement. This is something all drivers should understand. We should increase our stopping distances and reduce our speeds accordingly. And it could likely go with out saying, when it snowy, icy, or wet.


Additionally, we should always prepare for the unexpected. Perhaps that shaded area of the road up ahead got wet and could be icy even though the rest of the roadway is dry. Perhaps the "Trucks Entering" the roadway from a wet gravel or muddy road tracked water and dirt on the roadway throughout the day and it's now frozen. The best way to prepare for the unexpected is to pay attention to our driving.


Allow for some space

A rear-end crash is one of the most common crashes. It's also the easiest to avoid. Give yourself plenty of space so you can see and respond to the driving behaviors, road conditions, and changing traffic ahead.


Be In Control

Look, if you are like me, you want to be in control. If we are tailgating or following too closely, we are putting our lives and actions in the hands of the person in front of us. When we are tailgating another vehicle, if they slam on their breaks, we have to react and do the same to avoid hitting them. They get to call the shots. If I give myself space...plenty of space, the driver in front of me can do what ever they want and instead of reacting, I have the ability to remain in control and respond to their driving. I maintain control and have the ability to choose my response. I have time to slow down, stop, or change direction. It's my choice not theirs. I refuse to give them power over me.




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