The winter can be a tricky time of year for driving. Storms can come unexpectedly, and ice on the road can often times be invisible to drivers. While you can’t control how safely others drive, you can ensure that you are following safe winter driving practices by reading these simple tips. The first step is to make sure that you are alert and focused before heading out on the road. Avoid driving while you’re fatigued.
You should always make sure you have proper winter or all weather tires on your vehicle, as well as making certain they are properly inflated. Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface (wet, ice, sand), and always look and steer where you want to go.
When stopping and starting, do it slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
Keep in mind that everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly. The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop. Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
While going up hills applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible.
If you really do not need to go anywhere, then stay home. You may be a safe driver in the snow, but there are plenty of those who are not.
Posted by on Dec 21 2011 in Driving Tips