Driving Tips for Winter Weather
Driving in winter weather conditions is an adventure and not a fun one. It is incredibly stressful, and winter storms and bad road conditions are a major factor in thousands of crashes every winter. Drivers should be prepared for every scenario and ready to deal with winter road emergencies should they arise.
Tips for Driving in the Snow and Ice
The best tip for driving in the snow and ice is just to not do it unless absolutely necessary. Even if you drive well in bad weather, there are other drivers out on the road that are not as experienced. It is better to avoid unnecessary risks by venturing out.
Drivers should slow down their speed considerably when snow or ice is present. Traction is significantly reduced with even a skiff of snow on the roads, so tires have a hard time getting a good grip. Do not assume, even if you have an all-wheel drive vehicle, that you can continue driving at or near the speed limit when icy road conditions are present.
You should also accelerate and decelerate slowly because the loss of traction will cause tires to spin and vehicles to skid.
Snow and ice significantly increase stopping times and distance. It takes longer to slow down on icy roads, so drivers should increase following distance by five or six seconds. This will provide a longer distance should you need to stop in a hurry.
In addition, it is much harder to get going from a full stop in snow or ice. Instead, try to keep the vehicle moving slowly while waiting for a traffic light to change or for a car to pass.
Watch for Black Ice
It is often difficult to watch for black ice because it is almost impossible to see, which makes it so dangerous. Black ice looks like the rest of the pavement on the road and commonly forms at night or in the early morning when the temperatures at their lowest.
It is important to remain calm and avoid overreacting if you start to slide on black ice. Instead, turn the steering wheel very gently in the same direction and do not slam on the brakes. Black ice is often patchy, so tires will soon find traction.
Never Use Cruise Control
Drivers should never use cruise control when driving on any slippery or wet surface, such as ice and snow, because the vehicle will want to accelerate to maintain speed, even in bad conditions.