GEICO reminds drivers to remain extra vigilant in winter conditions

WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 4, 2014 – With an early blast of winter weather blanketing much of the country, GEICO wants drivers to remember to prepare for compromised road conditions.

Tips for Handling Winter Weather

  • Drive slowly: This is one of the most important elements when traveling in winter conditions. When roads become slick, vehicles require much more room to stop. Drivers should try to maintain at least three times as much following distance between the next closest vehicles as they would on clear roads.
  • Never pass plows or salting trucks: These types of maintenance vehicles have limited visibility. Also, road conditions in front of them can deteriorate significantly.
  • Watch bridges and overpasses: Approach these structures with caution because they often freeze over prior to regular roadways.
  • Along with carefully monitoring road conditions, drivers need to learn how their vehicles handle in slippery conditions.
  • Braking tips: If the vehicle is equipped with anti-lock brakes (ABS), apply steady pressure to the brakes when stopping. For older vehicles without ABS, pump the brakes gently to prevent them from locking.
  • Handling skids: If a vehicle begins to skid, the driver should immediately take his foot off the gas and the brake. Then, try "steering into the skid," meaning that if a car starts sliding to the right, the driver should turn the wheel to the right. This maneuver will realign the back tires with the front tires and allow the car to travel on a straight path. After regaining control, accelerate gradually to avoid another skid.
  • How to prepare: The best way to prepare for compromised winter conditions is through practice. For inexperienced drivers and those looking to brush up, head to an empty parking lot during the day that has snow cover. Focus on learning stopping distances and recovering from skids.

Remember, every vehicle behaves differently in poor conditions, and factors such as weight and drivetrain (front wheel drive, rear wheel drive, all-wheel drive) influence handling and stopping. For example, all-wheel drive systems can help an automobile start out more easily, but they don't improve stopping ability.

For more safe driving tips, drivers can visit www.geico.com/information/safety/.

GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company) is a member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies and is the second-largest private passenger auto insurance company in the United States. GEICO, which was founded in 1936, provides millions of auto insurance quotes to U.S. drivers annually. The company is pleased to serve more than 14 million private passenger customers and insures more than 23 million vehicles (auto & cycle).

Using GEICO's online service center, policyholders can purchase policies, make policy changes, report claims and print insurance ID cards. Policyholders can also connect to GEICO through the GEICO App, reach a representative over the phone or visit a GEICO local agent.

GEICO also provides insurance quotes on motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), boats, travel trailers and motorhomes (RVs). Coverage for life, homes and apartments is written by non-affiliated insurance companies and is secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency. Commercial auto insurance and personal umbrella protection are also available.

For more information, go to www.geico.com.