Winter is officially here and we are starting to experience increased storms throughout the country. Over 70 percent of the nation’s roads are located in snowy regions and nearly 70 percent of the U.S. population lives in these regions.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, “Each year, 24 percent of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy or icy pavement and 15 percent happen during snowfall or sleet. Over 1,300 people are killed and more than 116,800 people are injured in vehicle crashes on snowy, slushy or icy pavement annually. Every year, nearly 900 people are killed and nearly 76,000 people are injured in vehicle crashes during snowfall or sleet. Snow and ice also increase road maintenance costs.”
Tips to help prepare for winter driving:
- Know the weather: stay tuned to weather alerts and know what’s coming in your delivery area
- Change your routes: if possible stick to main roads which are plowed and sanded more frequently and avoid back road short cuts when you can
- Wait it out if the roads are too dangerous and wait for plows to catch up
- Remember that bridges and overpasses may freeze sooner than normal road surfaces
- Be aware of low salt areas
- Let your vehicle warm up so your windshield does not fog up when driving
- Keep extra room between you and the car ahead of you
- Slow down
What to check for before entering your vehicle:
- Are the windshield and side windows clear?
- Are the windshield wipers working and in good condition?
- Can you see in all the mirrors?
- Are the headlights clean enough to allow for proper visibility?
- Do the brake and emergency lights work?
- Does the defroster work?
- Do tires have good tread and adequate pressure?
- Are the brakes working properly?
- Is there more than a quarter tank of gas?
- Do you have emergency or repair equipment in the vehicle, including flashlights, fire extinguishers, and chains where applicable?
Winter is inevitable and nothing can be done to avoid it. Preventable maintenance and extra caution is important to help keep you safe while operating in these conditions.