In many parts of the country, driving through wind and snow is just part of your average winter. However, it’s not every day that you drive in a whiteout.
Drivers are often caught off guard when snow drifts across the road and visibility becomes virtually non-existent. If weather conditions are bad enough, make an executive decision to stay home.
However, if you must go out at all—or the conditions aren’t bad enough to stay indoors—follow these tips to help you get to your destination safely.
- Slowly.Speed limits are set for summer conditions, when snow and ice are not a problem. (See our full list of things not to drive.) If you drive in a whiteout, drive slowly. Also, check your speedometer periodically – without exceeding the visual cues, it’s easy to speed up without realizing it after a while.
- Avoid sudden acceleration, braking and steering.Drive carefully and gently to avoid slipping and sliding on the road. Also avoid wheel shake—overcorrection can send you into a tailspin. Instead, smoothly guide your car where you want it to go.
- Don’t tailgate.This is important anytime, but especially when you’re driving in a whiteout. Leave more space between your car and the car in front of you than you normally would.
- Avoid changing lanes or passing other drivers.Low visibility makes it hard to see when someone else has the same idea.
- Avoid using cruise control.Tapping the brakes to turn off cruise control can cause your tires to lose traction. If you need to slow down, take your foot off the accelerator and let your car slow down.
- Look across the car in front of you.It’s easy to lock your gaze on the taillight in front of you. It’s a good bet to keep your sights further ahead.
- Keep your fog lights or low beams on.Low beam is a better choice than high beam because there is less bounce back from ice particles in the air.
- Defrost your windows.Activate the defroster for the front and rear windows. It’s best not to press the recirculate button—doing so will cause your windows to fog up more due to increased moisture in the air.
- reducedistraction.Beyond the obvious things like refraining from texting while driving, you might consider turning off the radio, not eating or smoking, and taking a conversation break so you can really focus on the road. (One exception: tuning into the weather report.)
- Be prepared to re-root.If a weather report says a certain area is closed or backed up, reroute your course. The announcer will often give an alternative path.
- watch out forblack ice.It is extremely slippery and dangerous—so make sure you know how to spot it and how to drive on it
- Pull over.If conditions are bad enough that you can’t see the roads, put on your four-way flashers and park off the road in a safe spot. Avoid pulling over to the side of the road unless absolutely necessary, as this can create a dangerous situation for you and other drivers.
- Prepare an emergency kit. If you find yourself stuck, be sure to prepare a kit with essentials that can be stored in your car year-round.
Be prepared with the right auto coverage
When the snow settles and you find your vehicle under several feet of extra snow, ERIE’s Emergency Roadside Coverage can help cover the cost of extricating your vehicle so you can get back on the road. Contact your local Erie insurance agent to review your coverage or get a quote today.
ERIE® insurance products and services are offered by one or more of the following insurers: Erie Insurance Exchange, Erie Insurance Company, Erie Insurance Property & Casualty Company, Flagship City Insurance Company and Erie Family Life Insurance Company (home office: Erie, Pennsylvania) or Erie Insurance Company of New York (Home Office: Rochester, New York). Erie Insurance Group companies are not licensed to operate in all states. Read the company’s license and status of operations information.
The insurance products and rates described in this blog, if applicable, are effective from July 2022 and are subject to change at any time.
Insurance products are subject to terms, conditions and exclusions not described in this blog. The policy contains specific details of coverage, terms and exclusions.
Insurance products and services described in this blog are not offered in all states. ERIE life insurance and annuity products are not available in New York. ERIE Medicare Supplement products are not available in the District of Columbia or New York. ERIE long-term care products are not available in the District of Columbia and New York.
Eligibility at the time of application will be determined based on applicable underwriting guidelines and rules in effect at the time.
Your ERIE agent can give you practical guidance and answer any questions you may have before buying.