There hasn’t been a lot of snow on the ground this winter in Central Minnesota, but we all know that will change eventually. When the snow hits, driving can become very hazardous. The last thing 360 Chiropractic wants is to see you in our office with injuries from winter driving. Here are some simple tips to help you become a better driver when the white stuff starts to fly:
- Drive slow; don’t press on the gas pedal too hard. You want to accelerate and decelerate slowly – it’s the proper method to gain traction and avoid skids. Take your time when you see a stoplight. It always takes longer to slow down on slick roads. The best way to stop with your brakes is by using threshold braking. Take the heel of your foot and use it to apply firm, but steady pressure on the pedal.
- If you can avoid stopping, do it. You want to avoid rolling into a traffic light as it changes at all costs. There’s a big disparity in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving again from a full stop against how much it takes to get moving while rolling.
- Don’t go up hills at a fast pace. Your wheels will just keep spinning on roads covered with snow if you hit the gas too fast. Get a little speed going before you reach a hill and keep that pace if you can. When you reach the top of the hill, take your speed down and go down the hill as slow as you can.
- Avoid driving when you’re tired.
- Always make sure your tires are properly inflated to the car’s specified PSI (pounds per square inch). Look on the inside of the driver’s side door or in your car’s manual to find out what your tire PSI should be. Typically, the correct PSI is around 32-35.
- Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid your line freezing in extremely cold temperatures.
- Avoid using your parking brake whenever possible in cold, rainy and snowy weather.
- Don’t use cruise control when driving on snow-covered roads.
- Always pack a winter survival kit (blankets, gloves, hats, food, and water) in your trunk just in case you go off the road during a snowstorm.
- Always wear your seat belt – no explanation necessary.
- If you go off the road, stay in your car. It provides shelter and makes it easier for people to find you. Don’t try to walk to safety in a snowstorm, you’re asking for trouble if you do. It’s very easy to get lost if you start to walk away from your car.
- Don’t try to dig your car out of the snow if you know there’s no chance of you getting it out yourself.
- Make sure your exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow, ice or mud. A blocked exhaust pipe could lead to carbon monoxide leaking into the passenger compartment while the engine runs.
If you get into an accident, the force of the collision can cause your head and neck to pitch forward, resulting in whiplash. Whiplash can damage the soft tissues of your neck, straining the muscles and the ligaments in that part of your body beyond their normal range of motion. A lot of times, we ignore a little soreness or stiffness. We assume it’ll just go away over time, but, whiplash can actually leave you with some serious issues if not properly cared for. Some symptoms to watch for, besides physical pain include: blurry vision, difficulty swallowing, irritability, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, ringing in the ears and vertigo.
It’s perfectly normal to feel pain and stiffness in your neck and back after a whiplash incident. You might even start feeling better quickly. BUT, if you experience the recurrence of these symptoms after a few days, you might want to get yourself in for an evaluation.
Here at 360 Chiropractic, our ultimate goal is to help you feel your very best — if you’ve been in a collision, don’t wade in pain; get help!