Winter Driving Tips

By harley erbe

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Although it may seem like it will never happen this winter, at some point there will probably be another snowfall.  The result will be messy and dangerous road conditions and increase the possibility of car accidents and truck accidents.  Here are some snow-specific tips to avoid trouble.

  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated.  The tires are the only part of your vehicle in contact with the ground.  Tires become even more important when they are in contact with a snow-covered instead of a dry surface.
  • Do not use your cruise control when driving on wet, icy, or snow-covered surfaces.
  • Accelerate and decelerate in a controlled manner and with care.  Do so slowly.  Slowly applying the gas to accelerate helps with regaining traction and avoiding skids. is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids.  And remember that stopping time is increased when road conditions worsen.  Be careful in heavy traffic and when approaching intersections.
  • Drive slowly too.  Everything, including turning, is more difficult and takes longer in winter driving conditions.  Driving slower will help compensate for the fact that your vehicle is unlikely to move as well or respond as quickly as it would in dry conditions.
  • With those tips goes the recommendation to double your following distance behind other vehicles.  That will allow the extra time necessary to stop your vehicle in winter conditions.
  • Avoid stopping your vehicle as much as possible.  It is much more difficult to get a stopped car moving forward on a winter road than one that is still rolling slowly.  For example, if you are approaching a red light, slow down as safely as possible so that the light may turn green before you have to stop, allowing you to avoid stopping at the red light.
  • If possible, plan your route to avoid steep or long hills.  Hills can be a nightmare in the snow.  If you do find yourself on a steep or long hill, avoid excessive acceleration.  That can cause your vehicle to spin out because of the extra power necessary to speed it up a hill.  Instead, try to gather a little inertia while approaching the hill and gently accelerate only if necessary to crest it.  Likewise, stopping on a hill will cause many vehicles to become stuck.  If traffic is heavy and your car has a tendency to become stuck if it stops on a hill, choose a different route to avoid become stuck on a hill when traffic stops in front of you, leaving you nowhere to go.

The best tip is to stay home if you have no compelling or mandatory reason to challenge a heavy snowfall before the roads are cleared.  You may be a great winter driver.  You may have a great vehicle that handles snowy roads like they are dry pavement.  But other drivers may not be in as good of a situation as you are.  A winter driving accident and the resulting personal injuries can be just as bad regardless of who is at fault.

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