When you live in the Twin Cities, dangerous winter road conditions come with the territory. Every winter, snowy and icy road conditions in our neck of the woods contribute to roughly 15,000 vehicle accidents. While some of those collisions are unavoidable, others are simply a product of poor driving decisions in hazardous conditions.
To help you stay safe on the road and avoid damage to the body of your vehicle, the auto body repair experts at Minnetonka Collision share safe winter driving tips below.
Take It Slow, But Not Too Slow
When roads are icy or snowy, or when you have reduced visibility during a snowstorm or at night, make sure you drive slowly enough that you can see what’s going on around you. If you happen to skid on a patch of ice or another driver suddenly swerves in front of you, you can typically maintain control of your vehicle when you’re driving at a reasonable speed.
When you drive too fast in poor weather conditions, however, it’s exceedingly easy to lose control of your steering or braking if you hit a slippery patch of pavement. At that point, auto body repairs will be the least of your concerns as you and your passengers’ lives may be at risk.
When it comes to driving at a reasonable speed, though, reasonable involves some discretion. Many Twin Cities drivers — especially those with vision issues — slow to a crawl on major roadways when the weather gets bad. But driving too slowly is just as dangerous as driving too fast; you’ll slow down traffic flow and put your vehicle at risk for a rear-end collision.
Keep a Safe Distance from Other Drivers
Ever heard of the three-second rule? If not, you’re about to learn something! The three-second rule is a safety recommendation issued by the National Safety Council for driving in ideal road conditions. It’s one of the simplest things you can do to avoid needing auto body repairs or front bumper repairs.
To follow this rule, you simply leave three seconds of space between the front of your vehicle and the rear end of the vehicle in front of you. According to the NSC, you need a minimum of three seconds to come to a full stop if the driver in front of you slams on the brakes. So how do you know what three seconds' worth of space looks like? Do this:
● Pick a point somewhere in the road in front of you — a sign, a mile marker, a billboard, etc.
● Wait for the vehicle in front of you to pass that point.
● As soon as that vehicle passes the point, immediately begin counting seconds until you also pass that point.
● If you reach three seconds or more, you’re maintaining a safe following distance. If don’t quite get to three, you need to back off a little.
But keep in mind that the three-second rule is for ideal road conditions. It’s not designed for driving in snow, ice, or low visibility conditions. If you must drive on hazardous roadways, increase your following distance to at least five seconds, preferably more.
Switch Out Regular Tires for Snow Tires
If you have a two-wheel-drive vehicle, swapping out your regular tires for studded snow tires can make a massive difference in the amount of control you have on the road. Should you hit a patch of ice or need to drive through a snowy section of road, studded snow tires provide the traction necessary to handle either situation safely.
When your tires have adequate traction, you’re much less likely to collide with another vehicle or a stationary object. And the lower your chances of a collision are, the lower your likelihood of needing auto body repairs.
Minnetonka Collision: Your Twin Cities Source for High-End Auto Body Repair
When the body of your vehicle sustains damage, whether it’s a minor fender bender, a few scratches, or a major dent, our team at Minnetonka Collision is here for you. We’ll work with your collision insurance to make sure you file your claim properly and provide concierge services while we repair your vehicle. To get started, call our Plymouth, MN office today at 763-230-7805, schedule a free estimate, or contact us online for more information.