by Rita Costello
Driving in winter weather, snow, ice, fog and rain is at best hazardous and physically demanding on drivers. Before venturing onto the roadways in the winter it is critical that you make sure that you-as the driver, the RV and your driving skills are readied for the road.
Following safe driving procedures is always important; it steps up too critically important when adverse driving conditions are present. Taking shortcuts while preparing to head out on the road in the winter can result in delays, accidents and potentially you may not accomplish your mission for the day.
RV Basic Training would like to share some tips and reminders to help you stay safe on the road in the winter. Following are some tips for making sure you, your RV and your driving skills are ready for the adventure.
Driver check points:
- Mental and physical condition needs to be ready for the demands ahead of you while on the road. Make sure you get plenty of rest before taking on winter weather conditions
- Check weather and road condition reports to find out what you may encounter.
- Remember winter weather can change quickly and radically so consider all potential hazards.
- Let others know your route and time schedule; contact them if you must deviate from that route
- Try not to travel alone
- Take a cell phone or two-way radio and its car charger
- Take extra clothes, food and water in case of a breakdown or other delay
- If you do breakdown, stay with your vehicle-it will be easier for rescuers to find than you will be
- Drive defensively; watch out for the other drivers as well as icy patches and potential black ice
RV Check Point:
- Get your vehicle winterized. Make sure it is inspected by a competent repair facility and that it is in peak operating condition
- Do not warm up and idle your RV in an enclosed area such as a garage
- Keep the fuel tank at least half full to help prevent freezing in the fuel lines
- Check that tires are properly inflated and are in good overall condition
- Ensure that wiper blades are in good condition
- Do your complete pre trip inspection
Driver Skills Reminders:
- Be honest with yourself about what driving challenges you can safely handle. If conditions exceed your comfort level-park the RV until conditions improve and/or call for assistance
- Do not use cruise control on slippery surfaces(ice, rain, snow, sand)
- Increase the normal three to four second following distance to nine to ten seconds
- Do not accelerate or brake quickly; use a steady pressure to avoid spin outs and sliding
- When visibility is reduced, slow down, keep headlights on a low beam, avoid changing lanes unless necessary
- Watch your speed; fog can create the illusion of going slower than you actually are traveling
- Keep your eyes moving, know what is around you at all times
Following these tips should help you survive the trials of winter driving. Always keep in mind that safety and everyone’s well-being should be the primary consideration on whether or not you should be on the road in hazardous weather. Drive safely.