According to the Kitsap Sun, on December 27, 2021, there were ‘hundreds’ of cars sitting in the ditches when an Arctic blast snowstorm hit the county. There were also 25 crashes within 24 hours during the same storm. While no one was seriously hurt, people did spend the rest of their year getting their cars towed or repaired due to the weather.
Being Washington State, there is a good chance that history will repeat itself and cars will end up in ditches with the next big snow.
There are some things that you can do to help mitigate the chances of you being in an uncomfortable or dangerous situation.
Avoid a Crash
Obviously, the first way to avoid a crash is to stay home and not drive during bad weather, but there are always going to be times when it’s impossible to stay home – even in a snowstorm –, so here are some of the best ideas for avoiding a crash:
- Don’t use your cruise control while driving on snowy roads;
- If you skid, steer into the skid that way once you get your traction back, you won’t need to overcorrect your steering;
- Slowly accelerate and decelerate;
- Give the vehicles in front of you plenty of room – 8 to 10 seconds or more helps;
- 4WD and AWD do not help you drive on ice;
- Don’t crowd the snowplow;
- Ramps, bridges, intersections, and shaded areas are prone to ice;
- Always move over for emergency vehicles, maintenance, and construction vehicles;
- Watch for wildlife, especially deer;
- Teach teens how to drive in snow and ice;
- Slow down in chain-up areas;
- Know what your car’s traction control and ABS systems are capable of;
- When driving uphill, keep moving and don’t stop or hesitate
If You Must Drive
Here are some tips on how to make the best of it if you do need to get out on the road during a snowstorm or when the roads are icy:
- Plan your route and let others know where you’re headed;
- Check the pass conditions with WSdot.com before you leave;
- Make sure your vehicle is winterized;
- Warm up your car before you drive;
- Be aware of areas prone to black ice;
- Remove any snow or ice from your mirrors, windows, decks, and any sensors/cameras on your vehicle;
- Clear your headlights and taillights
Winterize Your Vehicle
If you haven’t already, get your vehicle ready for winter driving. There are several things you should do before winter comes like check your antifreeze level and battery power; add -30-degree rated windshield wiper fluid level and fill your gas tank. Check your windshield wiper blades to make sure they aren’t worn. If you don’t have tire chains, get a set.
When it comes to your tires, check your tread and be sure to use winter tires. If you’re using all-weather tires, your tread needs to be more than 2/32 inch tread. Check your tire pressure since it will drop when it is cold out. You should have a tire repair kit with you, too.
Kitsap Auto Outlet Service Department can help you winterize your car or truck, so give them a call or schedule an appointment to get ready for the winter weather.
Are You Ready for an Emergency?
If you are stuck in a ditch or in an accident, you should have several items with you that can keep you safe and comfortable while you wait on help. The first thing to do is not panic, which means you need to keep everyone calm. Be aware of your surroundings, and don’t leave your vehicle.
Here are the things you should have in your vehicle any time of the year, but especially when it’s snowing:
- Emergency First Aid Kit
- Cell phone with a charger
- Sand or kitty litter to help get traction in the snow
- Jumper cables
- Ice scraper
- Boots and gloves
- Extra food, fluids, and blankets for everyone
Put the flares out in front and behind your vehicle, and if you have an orange cloth or other bright cloth, tie it around the antenna. Keep your radiator free from snow. If you have an emergency system like OnStar®, you can use it to call for help.
Only turn your engine on when needed to warm up the interior after checking to make sure the tailpipe is clear. A blocked tailpipe can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
Another tip is to know your cellphone’s capabilities. There are all types of apps available that will give your cellphone the ability to help you during an emergency. Always have your GPS tracking on when you are traveling during a snowstorm. This combined with apps from companies like AT&T can point out your coordinates making you easy to find in an emergency. There are even apps that will send an alert to emergency personnel if you run into trouble.
If your car is equipped with the latest technology, then you may already have a lot of apps available to you that will help you plan the weather and navigate around blocked roads. If you don’t have the latest technology, you might want to look at a new car. Kitsap Auto Outlet has a large inventory of vehicles that will help you navigate the winter roads of Kitsap County.
Check out our inventory or schedule your service department appointment to winterize your vehicle today.