Four tips to stay safe on the road this winter

Recently I was chatting with friends of mine who live in Manhattan and they were marveling at the fact that just a couple of weeks ago it was 80 degrees outside. In November. In New York City.

Keep in mind we were having this conversation as snow was falling all around us and we were shivering in the cold.

Fall of 2017 did have some unseasonably warm temperatures. But today is December 1 and I’m afraid it’s time to face the music – winter, and all its glory, is right around the corner.

I drove in a lot of winter weather that day I spent with my friends from NYC. Freezing rain, sleet, snow and then finally clear skies and frigid temperatures – I covered it all in just a few short hours. And I have to be honest, my husband and I have been slow to put our winter tires on our vehicles because the temperatures have been so mild.

Luckily, I have plenty of experience driving in winter weather. But that doesn’t mean that the first time out each season, I don’t need to jump start my brain. Just a quick reminder of the basics before Old Man Winter gets a chance to give me a swift kick in the rear and send me headed in a direction I’d rather not be going.

To easily remember my top four winter driving tips, you just need to remember one word – RIBS.

  1. Reduce speed.

Slow and steady wins the race. Snowy and icy road conditions do not pair well with fast driving. Leave early to allow for extra time on the road. If you find yourself running behind schedule, it’s better to apologize for being a bit late than to not arrive at all.

  1. Increase following distance.

Stopping on icy roads can be challenging. It’s important to keep that in mind and allow the extra space you may need to slow down and avoid an accident.

  1. Brake early.

Slowing down in icy conditions can be challenging. Brake early, applying firm, constant pressure. Avoid hard braking if at all possible.

  1. Stay with the vehicle.

If you do get stuck or break down, stay with your vehicle. When help arrives, they are more likely to find you faster if you are with your vehicle. Plus, a vehicle can provide protection from the elements.

Don’t forget to check the road conditions before you leave the house and, whenever possible, just stay home.

For the record, we have since switched to snow tires on our vehicles. Bring on the snow!