Winter driving should be a driving course all on its own. Nothing compares to learning how to handle your vehicle in snow, ice and windy conditions. Besides having your care serviced by professionals, staying up on your routine maintenance and getting any needed repairs done before the first snowfall there are a few other things you should know about winter driving.
Be Able to See and Be Seen
Clean frost and snow off all windows, mirrors, lights, and reflectors. Equip your car with good wiper blades and keep an ample supply of windshield washer fluid.
If visibility is poor, use headlights.
Get a Feel for the Road
When you first start out, accelerate carefully to test wheel-spin and brake gently to test skidding.
Use the accelerator and brakes slowly to maintain control of your vehicle. Fast acceleration can make wheels spin on ice and snow. Brake with a gentle pumping action. Stepping too hard on the pedal will lock the brakes and cause loss of steering control.
Increase Your Following Distance
Ice or snow can multiply your stopping distance up to ten times.
Make Turns Slowly and Gradually
Heavily traveled intersections can become “polished” and slick. Brake before you come to a curve, not while you are in it.
Turn in the Direction of the Skid
If the rear of your car begins to slide, turn into the direction of the skid. Expect a second skid as the car straightens out, and be prepared to counter this sliding action.
Scattered Slippery Spots
Icy spots on the road surface can cause loss of steering control. Do not use your brake. Take your foot off the gas and steer as straight as possible until your car slows to a safe speed.
Avoiding a Collision
In an emergency situation, you can intentionally steer your car off the road and into a snow bank. You may get stuck, but you’ll avoid a crash.
Follow these tips to help make you a better driver this winter season.