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Double the Danger: 4 Tips for Driving in the Snow at Night

Driving in the snow always carries with it an increased risk. In fact, statistics from the US Department of Transportation show that every year approximately 76,000 people are injured and more than 900 people die from crashes in snowy weather. Of course, things can become even more dangerous when driving in the snow at night, which is why it is essential that you’re fully prepared before you set off on the road. In truth, driving in snowy weather at night should generally just be avoided whenever possible. Still, if you do find yourself having to do it, here are a few simple tip that may help to ensure you reach your destination safely.

Make Sure Your Lights Are in Working Order

This first tip really applies to any time you’ll be driving at night, as it is important to ensure that all of your lights are in working order so that you’ll be able to see and be seen by other vehicles. But it’s especially important when driving in snow, as the visibility is even worse. Be sure to check not only your headlights, but also your taillights and blinkers. In addition, it is never a good idea to use your brights or high-beams during a snowstorm as these can reflect off the snow and actually decrease your visibility.

Be Prepared with a Winter Survival Kit

Driving in snowy or icy weather can always be hazardous. No matter how careful you are, there is always a chance you could slide off the road. Unfortunately, this could also mean being stranded for some time until another motorist spots your vehicle, which may take even longer at night. Therefore, it is recommended that you prepare ahead of time by having a winter survival kit in your vehicle with you. Among other things, this kit should include extra warm clothing, gloves, boots, food, water and a flashlight. Other things that are a good idea to pack in your kit include tire chains, a flashlight and batteries, road flares, an ice scraper, and a small shovel in case you need to dig out your vehicle.

Drive Slowly and Smartly

Your driving behavior can play a huge role in how safely you’re able to navigate snowy roads at night. In this case, it is always important to accelerate and decelerate much more slowly and gradually whenever driving on snowy, slick, or icy roads. Moreover, you should always make sure to reduce your speed whenever the weather conditions are less than perfect, which generally means driving well under the speed limit.

Maintain a Safe Distance between Yourself and Other Vehicles

One final thing to remember is that your braking capabilities will be drastically reduced when driving in snow. For this reason, it is essential that you never follow a vehicle too closely, as this could easily cause you to crash into them should they brake suddenly. Generally speaking, you should make sure to maintain at least eight to ten seconds distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you whenever driving on snowy or icy roads.

As you heed the above advice, keep in mind that not all vehicles are designed to perform well in snowy conditions. Therefore, it is also important to make sure that your vehicle can capably handle the road conditions. In fact, if you frequently drive on snowy roads, you might consider paying a visit to your local Nissan dealership to check out either an all-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive vehicle, as these will definitely give you much better handling in the snow.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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