In the winter driving months, snow and ice can cause adverse driving conditions. The best advice for driving in bad winter weather is not to drive at all. If you must drive, proceed with caution and, if possible, move night trips to daylight hours. Not only is visibility improved but you are more likely to receive prompt assistance during the daytime, should your vehicle break down. There are also many other tips, preparations and precautions you can employ to mitigate the perils of winter driving:
- Leave enough time to safely reach your destination and plan your route ahead of time. Avoid hills, bridges and congested areas, if possible.
- Fully remove snow and ice from all windows, mirrors, lights, turn signals and license plates.
- Remove snow and ice from your shoes before entering your vehicle. The melting snow and ice can create moisture buildup in your vehicle and cause your windows to fog on the inside. Fogging can be reduced by turning OFF your air recirculation and running your air condition briefly, which will act as a dehumidifier.
- As always, seatbelts should be utilized for the driver and all passengers.
- Use your headlights to increase visibility to other vehicles.
- DO NOT use cruise control.
- Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
- Reduce your speed! Posted speed limits are based on ideal road conditions.
- Accelerate, brake and steer in a smooth and gradual manner. Avoid quick starts, stops and fast turns.
- Allow extra distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you and allow plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
- If your vehicle begins to skid, steer in the direction of the slide and slowly remove your foot from the accelerator.
- Remember that 4-wheel-drive vehicles cannot necessarily turn or stop any better than 2-wheel-drive vehicles.
- If you get stuck in the snow, do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper. Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way. Lightly touch the accelerator and ease your car out. If needed you can also pour sand, kitty litter, gravel or salt in the wheel path to provide additional traction. You can also try rocking your vehicle, shifting from forward to reverse and back again. Each time you are in gear, apply a light touch to the accelerator. Be sure to consult your owner’s manual before “rocking” your vehicle, as it can damage the transmission on some vehicles.
Drive Safe and Happy New Year!