This post is sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are my own.
Did you know that Allstate just released 2018 America’s Best Drivers Report? It was a fascinating peek to see who ranks up there as the safest cities to drive in, but no matter where your hometown ranks- all of us could drive more safely. It’s obvious that being safe and strategic with our driving can help us save money and lead happier lives in general, so it’s a win-win, right?
But of course, the holidays are here and while we’re thinking about all the time we will be spending at shopping malls or rushing around getting everything done before family arrives, it’s also one of the busiest times of year for our roads as well.
Chances are, you’ll be spending a sizable chunk of your time preparing for the holiday season on the road- whether you’re trying to get all your errands done, driving around to find that perfect holiday dress, or the miles you clock to visit loved ones and squeeze in some much-needed family time, your odometer will be spinning this holiday season!
Usually, in our rush to get things done, it’s tempting to make up for lost time on the road, but this is one part of your holiday routines you want to be exceptionally mindful of.
Crowds on the roadways are not the only thing you’ll need to think about this winter- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted a wetter-than-average winter, and with warmer conditions generally predicted- you may not want to drive on auto-pilot for your winter driving routine.
So, whether you’re in the coldest regions of the nation or are down south where it usually doesn’t dip to freezing, you’ll want to be aware that precipitation is in the seasonal forecast!
Here are some safety tips for driving in rainy and snowy conditions this holiday season:
• Do Car Maintenance Before It Gets Busy: Have you checked your headlights, tail lights and the condition of your tires? Check your tread for wear and tire pressure. Also, make sure your winter gear is packed in the trunk.
• Plan for Extra Time: Holiday congestion plus wintery conditions means you’ll want to plan for when you need to prepare your car to leave and when you get on the road. Rushing your defrosting or tailgating when you’re in a rush can be dangerous. Be sure you plan ahead for visibility issues due to weather!
• While in Park, Plan: Before you put your car in reverse- have you cleared your mirrors and windows fully? Have you loaded your navigation? Is your playlist queued up? Did you send that last text to let them know you’re on the way? Trying to multitask on slick roads is risky- your car can’t stop as quickly on icy or wet roads, so don’t risk it.
• Stock Up On Supplies: Windshield scraper, jumper cables, flashlight, gloves and a snow shovel are winter car necessities you should have ready. If you don’t have tools to get out of the snow, avoid driving without them- you never know when you may get stuck!
• Have a Plan B, Don’t Panic: If you encounter standing water in the roadway, don’t risk it- find an alternative route. In icier conditions, if you begin to lose traction and spin, don’t slam on the brakes. Release the accelerator, and gently steer in the direction you want to go.
When sharing the road with other cars, be courteous- everyone’s a bit more stressed this holiday season, so spread a little holiday cheer by driving kindly. (This is why extra time is key- not everyone will be this prepared!)
The holiday season also means you may be seeing more semi-trucks on the road, especially if you’re driving to see loved ones with long distances on the highway. Remember, if you can’t see a truck’s mirrors, they can’t see you- and they often need more time to turn, brake and merge.
Final point- driving in the winter takes practice and lots of patience. The holidays are the busiest time of year for many of us, but they also have some of the worst months to drive safely- with crowded roads, low visibility and slick conditions.
To top that, for those of us in the snowy states, that extra time spent clearing the car of snow and digging out your parking spot can mean you end up rushed and a bit frantic, so take a deep breath and realize it’s better to get to where you’re going alive, rather than stressing along the way trying to cut corners. People will understand and want you to be safe, so slow down and enjoy the ride.
As a California girl myself, my first few winters in Chicago were fraught with panic and white knuckles from about December through March. It took a lot of practice, guidance and yes- a few kind dig-outs from experienced Midwesteners to get the hang of it- but with the right tools and some practice, you’ll be a winter pro in no time.
If you’re new to winter driving or aren’t confident in your skills to make it from point A to point B this winter, there’s an app for that! Drivewise®* from Allstate is completely free and can help you learn more about your safe driving habits so you can make improvements that will give you the confidence and insights to help you drive more safely.
Drivewise® collects your driving behavior and provides rewards for safe driving. So how does it work? Well, it’s actually really simple. It measures your hard-breaking speeding and time of day and provides personalized driving feedback to help you improve your weak spots and ensures that you drive with safety in mind this season and all year long. This winter you can make safe driving a win-win with Drivewise!