Tips on driving safely in the winter

Winter in Montana often means treacherous roads and poor driving conditions. As a result, local motorists must take the proper precautions to ensure a safe experience for all, including themselves and their passengers. The following information explains what to do when encountering snow and ice, so you can reduce your risk of having an accident during winter.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests keeping certain items in your vehicle during the winter season. This includes an ice scraper, salt or kitty litter to increase traction, flares, jumper cables, a flashlight, and a snow shovel. Keeping warm blankets and clothing in your vehicle is also recommended in the event you’re involved in an accident and stranded until help can arrive.

When traveling, it’s also smart to plan ahead. Look at the weather report before you set out to ensure conditions are amenable to your journey. In the event of a storm, you may want to consider postponing your trip for a few hours or even a day. If you use GPS, be sure to set it before you start driving. Also, tell the people at your destination when you plan on arriving. That way they can call help if there are any issues.

AAA also recommends driving slowly when there are snow and ice on the road. When accelerating apply the gas slowly to prevent skidding. You should also take care when following behind any vehicles to leave an appropriate distance. This entails leaving an eight to ten-second window between yourself and other vehicles. Doing so will provide you enough time to stop in case the vehicle in front of you does so suddenly.