During the winter, and especially after a recent snow or rainfall, you’re going to want to pay more attention, be more cautious, and stay as concentrated as you can when you’re out on the road.
So many people have bad winter driving habits without realizing (or caring) and this can lead to accidents involving other cars or solid objects like posts, sidewalks, or highway dividers.
Anyone interested in remaining safer while behind the wheel during winter driving is going to want to pay attention to these bad winter driving habits and make an attempt to change the habit around.
The Worst Winter Driving Habits You’ll Want to Change
Not Braking Soon Enough
One of the main causes of accidents during the winter months when there’s snow on the ground is caused by people that aren’t braking soon enough.
When the ground is covered in snow and is very slippery it’s important to hit the brakes a lot sooner than you normally would think you have to the so that your car tires have a chance to grip the road and allow for the brakes to work.
Make sure you’re paying close attention to what’s going on in front of you and always drive defensively regardless of the outdoor weather conditions.
Another popular bad winter driving habit is tailgating and this combined with braking too late can add up to a lot of rear-end accidents happening during the winter.
Normally you want to leave a significant amount of space between your car and the car in front of you and when the road is covered in snow and slippery you want to the way more space than you would think you would need just in case you have to slam on your brakes to avoid a collision.
In the winter I recommend leaving at least one and a half to two car lengths between the car in front of you depending on the conditions and how slippery or busy the road is.
With snow covered and slippery roads a lot of people maintain their normal driving roads speeds and this can lead to the car spinning out of control or hydroplaning as it hits an ice patch.
Always make sure to drive slowly and carefully when the weather conditions and road condition is perilous and avoid speeding especially if it’s currently snowing or raining.
Taking Corners too Fast
When the road is slippery it can be very dangerous taking corners too fast and it makes it a lot more possible for your car to lose grip causing you to lose control and spin out of the corner.
Make an effort to slowly take corners, especially at higher speeds, and look for areas on the road where previous car is already gone through the snow if there’s snow building up on the road surface.
It’s never a good idea to run a red light and this becomes even more dangerous in the winter.
As soon as you see the light turning yellow start making an effort to slow down and brake rather than speeding up and hoping to beat the light.
Trying to run the red light or beat the yellow during the winter when the weather conditions and road conditions are poor can result in the car spinning out and you could also hit someone else that’s just following the rules.
Not Using Turn Signals
I absolutely hate when people don’t use their turn signals to indicate the direction that they are taking their car and during the winter it’s more important to use the turn signals so that everyone around you is aware of your intentions.
With slick and snow-covered roads it’s much harder to brake in a shorter distance and a failure to indicate a lane change or turn could cause someone from behind you to hit you as they won’t be sure what you’re trying to do.
Always make an effort to use your turn signals whenever possible and exaggerate their length during the winter to give the drivers behind you time to adjust to your movement.
Keep the Windows and Lights Clear
One of the biggest problem habits that I see when driving around during the winter is that people fail to clean their windows and their lights and then head out with a bunch of snow on their car.
Cleaning all of the snow off of a vehicle doesn’t take much time at all and I actually wrote an article on the best snow brush for your car and I’d recommend checking that out if you’re looking for one to use during the winter.
The problem with not cleaning the snow off is that it will start to blow off of the car once you reach higher speeds and this could severely hinder the visibility of the person behind you which could lead to an accident.
It’s also important to make sure that the lights are cleared as well so that people around you can see when you’re using your signals or the brakes.
Failing to Check the Conditions
It’s important to be aware of the outdoor weather conditions whenever you’re planning to hit the road and do some driving and unfortunately many people don’t bother to check which leads them to be unprepared when they’re driving around.
Checking the conditions is as easy as hopping onto the internet and seeing what the weather is like or just looking outside at the roads around you to see how they look.
During the winter and especially if you’re planning on driving for an extended period of time it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the weather conditions so that you can adjust your driving habits accordingly.
Not Using Winter Tires
Every year without fail I see quite a few people struggling to drive during snowy or slippery conditions because they’re not using proper winter tires.
Winter tires help to increase your safety while driving on the road and offer more grip compared to the tires that you use during the summer months.
One winter driving habit that I recommend making the most effort to break is changing from your summer tires to winter tires a few weeks before the first snowfall and as soon as the weather starts to dip below zero.
This way you’ll be prepared by the first time it snows and you’ll be able to enjoy the advantages of using winter tires during the colder and snowy months.
With it already being so precarious to drive during the winter it’s even worse to get distracted during this time.
Even with snow on the ground I always see people using their phones or fiddling around with something else in their car rather than paying attention on the road and what’s going on in front of them.
When you’re not paying attention to what’s going on you’re much more likely to get into an accident as you’ll be unprepared for the events unfolding in front of you and unable to react with enough time to make the right choice.
Always strive to pay attention while you’re driving and make an effort to keep both hands on the wheel and full control of your vehicle during any weather conditions.
These are some of the more popular and common bad winter driving habits that I tend to notice throughout the winter months and I wanted to bring them to your attention so that you can change any bad habits that you have as well as help other people become better winter drivers.
With snow on the ground and possible icy patches on the road it’s important to try your hardest to drive as well as you can and to stay safe during any outdoor winter weather conditions.