It’s that time of year, again – winter is here. Depending on where you live in the US, winter can mean anything from dropping temperatures to blizzards and icy roads. Here at AWP, we make sure that our teams and customers know what changes in weather conditions mean for their daily safety routines. Whether walking across the parking lot or driving on the road, there are some hazards to be aware of and precautions to take. Here are four tips from our safety experts to help you stay safe during this winter season:
Increase Your Knowledge. Make sure to check the weather conditions before leaving your location and keep up on current weather and road conditions. Knowing what to expect will help you prepare and take precaution.
Be Prepared. Every time you are about to travel, make sure you and your vehicle are equipped to handle the weather conditions. When temperatures drop, protect your body with gloves, a coat, a hat and proper footwear. And it’s always a good idea to stash extra resources in your car like a blanket, flashlight, and snow scraper. Once you are all prepared, conduct a vehicle check to:
- Verify wiper blades are operating and there is enough wiper-washer fluid
- Make sure windows and mirrors are clear and clean
- Confirm all the lights are working and clean
- Confirm your brakes are operating properly
- Verify the heater and defroster are working
Assess the Risks. Depending on the weather and road conditions, adjust your speed and distance accordingly, and pay attention to how other motorists are reacting to the weather and road conditions. Don’t forget about black ice – a common but dangerous hazard! It is hard to see, so watch out for surfaces that look wet or appear glazed. If you think there is black ice, you can take the following precautions:
- Reduce speed by at least two-thirds
- Be aware of ice when entering and exiting the vehicle
- Slow down when taking curves; do not brake while in curves
- Maintain a wide space cushion: Space = Traction = Control
Be a Defensive Driver. As a defensive driver, you want to remain alert to potential hazardous situations. You can do this by looking ahead of what is immediately in front of you to have advance warnings. Additionally, assume that other drivers may make mistakes and be on guard to react in the event an error is made. Overall, use skills and judgment necessary to operate the vehicle safely by reducing speed and increasing following distance when needed.