Real estate professionals should brush up on winter driving tips

December 10, 2018

As agents still have relatively little business at this time of year, they still have to do a lot of driving. Winter brings with it unique road hazards, so safe driving practices should be undertaken at all times. Even those who have a lot of experience traversing their local highways and byways in all kinds of conditions would be wise to revisit some of the tips that help keep themselves, their clients and everyone else on the road safe.

The first and arguably most important step for agents to ensure safe winter driving is checking to see if their vehicle is ready for the conditions, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Making sure all their tires are in good shape and fully inflated, all their fluids are topped off, all their lights work and so on is critical to avoiding being stranded on the side of the road or involved in an unfortunate event.

Before heading out
Whenever agents plan to go anywhere, whether it's a quick trip down the street or hours away to an industry conference, it's important to be aware of the weather. That means a quick check of an app on your phone or watching weather reports on TV. In fact, it's always smart to check not only the current conditions, but what it will be like in a few hours.

For those longer car rides, it's also important to get a good idea of what the weather is like at the intended destination. While it may not be snowing in an agent's area now, they might drive into a storm, and they should make sure they're prepared for it - including by packing an emergency kit in the back seat. That kit should always include supplies like a charged phone battery, road flares, snacks and drinks, extra warm clothes and tools to help dig out of any snow the vehicle gets stuck in.

On the road
Once agents are actually behind the wheel and winter weather is rearing its head, the best advice is to take it easy, according to Travelers Insurance. When roads get slick with snow, ice, sleet or a wintry mix, it's only prudent to drive slowly - under the speed limit - while staying alert and using all due caution. That should entail not only keeping the speed down, but also avoiding rapid acceleration or hard braking, which can lead to skidding.

Likewise, it's important to make sure your windshield wipers are in good shape to ensure the best visibility possible, and that the vehicle is cleared from head to toe of any snow or ice that could slide and either damage following traffic or come onto the windshield unexpectedly.

As with any other safe driving tips, perhaps the best advice for agents is to simply use common sense; when conditions get treacherous, it's often better to stay home. No matter what kind of work they might need to do elsewhere, there's nothing more important than an agent's health and safety.