Winter Driving Tips

May 7, 2015

Here are some good tips and reminders in case winter driving conditions occur:

  • Take the time to properly warm up your engine before starting. A warm engine responds better and is less likely to have mechanical problems that will leave you stranded.
  • Make visibility a priority. Run your car’s defogger while you scrape the ice from your windshield, windows, and side mirrors.
  • Drive with your lights on, even during the day. Snowy days can have low visibility, and your lights will make you more visible to other drivers, especially if you have a white car.
  • Drive below the speed limit. In especially icy conditions, you may need to drive at half the speed limit to stay safe. If you feel yourself losing traction, reduce your speed.
  • Allow enough stopping distance. A car takes twice as long to stop on a slick road. Make sure to give yourself ample room between yourself and the car in front of you.
  • If you begin to slide, remove your foot from the brake. Turn the steering wheel in the same direction as the rear wheels. This is called “turning into the slide.” Be careful not to turn too much, or you will overcorrect.
  • Take turns carefully. Allow yourself to make a slightly wider turn than you usually would, and slow down while turning. This prevents the rear end of your vehicle from sliding.
  • Weigh your car down. Heavier vehicles are less likely to slide than lighter ones, particularly trucks with empty beds. If necessary, add a few bags of cat litter or sandbags to your trunk. They will come in handy should you vehicle become stuck in the snow.
  • If you drive a manual car, drive in a lower gear than you usually would. In automatic transmissions, you may have the ability to downshift into second gear, which can be extremely useful in the snow especially if you’re climbing hills.
  • If you shouldn’t be driving, don’t. News stations put out warnings to stay off the road for good reason. If roads are impassible, don’t try to drive on them. You’re putting yourself at danger and potentially causing accidents for the emergency service personnel who have to come rescue you.

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