Safe Winter Driving
Friday, November 29, 2013
Winter driving can be tricky because of the poor visibility and all the snow and ice on the roads. Here are some pointers for safe winter driving:
- In poor light, turn on your lights so motorists and pedestrians can see you.
- Clean windows and mirrors regularly, and make sure that your wiper washer container is filled with anti-freeze fluid.
- To improve traction, install snow tires if you drive in areas with heavy snow. All-season tires are acceptable, but not advisable, in areas with light snow. Do not mix tire types
- Drive slowly and leave about four seconds' distance between your car and the one ahead of you. Poor traction on slippery roads causes your vehicle to break more slowly than in dry conditions.
- Two of the primary causes of skids are sudden steering and speed changes. Break and accelerate slowly. Avoid unnecessary lane changes, and take corners slowly. Look far ahead of your vehicle so you have time to see obstacles and steer gently around them.
- Tires have better traction on slippery roads if you drive in lower gears.
- In event of a rear-wheel skid, let go of the accelerator. If the rear wheels slide left, steer left; if they slide right, steer right. Pump standard brakes very gently or apply steady pressure to anti-lock brakes.
- In event of a front-wheel skid, leave the accelerator but do not steer. The vehicle will slow as the wheels turn sideways, which will bring traction back.
- If possible, drive in the tracks of the vehicle ahead of you.
- If you get stuck in snow, use a shovel to clear snow from around the wheels and pore sand or salt in front of the wheels to help with traction. Otherwise simply turn the wheels from side to side to clear some snow and pull away.
- Be especially careful on back roads with little traffic. They are more likely to be covered with thick uncleared snow.
- If you have to pull off the road, use your hazard lights and pull as far as possible off the road.
- Avoid snow spray from large vehicles by increasing your following distance.
Drive carefully this winter and get to your destination safely, rather than quickly.