Winter driving is a skill that many people lack. Slick, icy roads are a hazard for drivers who know what they are doing, but inexperienced winter drivers make a dangerous situation even more precarious. If it’s possible to stay indoors when the weather is bad, this is the best course of action. However, many people need to commute to work, transport children to school and conduct routine business without regard to the weather.
Learning to drive in winter weather is simple: The most important thing to remember is to slow down. Never attempt to drive in snow and ice without giving yourself plenty of time. Between sliding, skidding and spinning, you should allow an extra fifteen to twenty minutes of time for every hour of travel. Arriving safely in plenty of time is preferable to showing up late or getting into an accident.
Here are some helpful tips for safe navigation in winter weather:
1. Always drive with your headlights on. Other motorists will be concentrating on maneuvering their own vehicles, so keeping your lights on makes you clearly visible.
2. Allow plenty of room to stop. Ice and snow cause your tires to lose traction, and braking may take longer than you normally experience in your vehicle. If you feel the brakes lock up, do not press them in further. Ease up and gently attempt to brake again. If you cannot stop at an intersection, use your horn.
3. Switch into low gears. This helps your car keep traction on slick roadways, especially when driving on hills.
4. Take extra care on low-traffic roads, bridges and overpasses. These freeze more quickly than heavily-travelled roads and are prone to “black ice.” Black ice gets its name because it looks just like a road wet with melted snow. It is easy to miss and causes many accidents each year.
5. Never pass a plow or salter. The drivers of these machines have low visibility, and they are operating in order to improve road conditions. While they do not travel quickly, the road ahead of them is likely to be in worse shape than that behind. Give these trucks and all other vehicles plenty of room to avoid accident. Do not follow closely behind any one.
6. Turn off your cruise control. Even on highways, using cruise control in winter weather is a poor choice. Manually adjust the speed of your car with the pedals instead. Because breaking takes much longer and other motorists may cause unseen obstacles, it is recommended that you travel at least ten miles under the speed limit.
7. Do not spin your wheels if you get stuck. This will dig a deeper hole for your vehicle to overcome. Instead, turn the wheel back and forth a few times. Remove snow from your path and sprinkle the ground with cat litter or sand to create traction.
About the Author
Nicole Rodgers has been blogging in the automotive, business, and education industries for three years. Last year when Nicole purchased a new car she made sure to check online for the best deals on auto insurance to make sure she is protected but also save money. During her free time she enjoys helping her niece prepare for her driving test. She made sure to give her niece a driver’s handbook so she could study for her test.