Winter is here. Our famous winter weather is really picking up force, dumping snow across southeastern Wisconsin. If you’re one of thousands of Wisconsin residents that need to venture out into the white stuff, knowing how to drive safely in the snow can save you thousands of dollars in car repairs and days of inconvenience. So don’t panic next time the weatherman says, “snow.” Take a deep breath and use these tips for driving safely in the snow:
- Have your vehicle checked before you brave through the snow. Even if your vehicle is well maintained, chances are your vehicle needs an inexpensive tune-up to get through our Wisconsin wintery roads.
- Know the thickness of your brakes and tires. These are two of the most important systems in your car for winter driving. Extra traction and thick pads are vital when driving during the most challenging winter storms.
- Always carry a cell phone and emergency kit. Be prepared for an emergency breakdown or to dig out. Never leave home without a cell phone, emergency kit, shovel, window scraper and winter gear.
- Allow for extra traveling time. Slow and steady wins the race in snow. Go as fast as conditions allow.
- Double your normal stopping distance. Take your normal stopping distance and double it. You’ll need extra space to stop when the roads are wet and slippery.
- Never stop on a hill or on a sharp curve. Stopping in a blind spot for other motorists is a sure way to ask for trouble. If your vehicle can’t make it up a hill, take a detour so you can take a flatter route to your destination.
- Don’t mash the gas. Avoid sudden accelerations as much as possible so you don’t fishtail or slide into the path of oncoming traffic or into the ditch.
If your car does venture off the road you need a tow, call Tire-rifik at 920-261-8111. We’ll tow you out, so you can be on your way—and ready to face the Wisconsin snow on the roads another day.
Found yourself in a precarious, unintentional off-the-road winter adventure? Even the most experienced and careful driver can end up in one of our Dodge or Jefferson County ditches during our Wisconsin winters. And though we’d all like to stay inside during our frequent snow falls, a lot of us don’t have that option. So what do you do when your car leaves the road during our dicey winter weather?
- Take a deep breath. Stay calm. Use the shovel your car emergency kit to try to dig your car out. If there is no way you’re going to be able to drive out of that ditch, proceed to step 2.
- Call Tire-rifik at 920-261-8111 for a tow truck. Figure out your exact location, and any landmarks that would help a tow truck driver find you. Then call Tire-rifik to get a tow truck to get you out of the ditch as soon as possible.
- Assess the damage. Don’t just assume that you can just drive away. Check your car over for damage—not just dents and dings, but ensure that no suspension parts are bent or broken, that your steering wheel stays straight when you try to drive straight and that there are no puddles under your car.
- If there is damage, don’t get it towed home. If you can’t fix your car yourself, tow the car to a local repair shop with mechanics you trust to minimize the cost of the tow.
- Call Tire-rifik and ask for a quote. Get a quote on the damage before you contact your insurance. If the cost of the repairs is less than your deductible, it doesn’t make sense to contact your insurance company. For example, if the repairs are $500 and you have a $1,000 deductible, you would pay the whole cost of the repair whether your insurance gets involved or not.
- Get your car repaired, and look into ways to stay out of the ditch. Once your car is repaired, look into snow tires for your car. While snow tires can’t help on icy roads, they can give you more traction during our frequent Wisconsin snow falls.
Schedule an appointment to get your battery checked so you don’t get stranded on the side of the road. These simple steps will get you back on the road—and keep you on the road—through our long Wisconsin winter.