Buurrrr! We have been blasted with snow and ice for the past week. Personally, I can’t stand cold weather, I know some of you like it, though. Today we’re going to be talking about driving safe in winter conditions.
1. Take it Slow
Make this your mantra: ice and snow, take it slow. When snow is covering the road, reduce your speed, accelerate slowly and steer gently. Keeping your speed down will help prevent spin-outs and keep your vehicle safe on the road.
2. Don’t Rely on Technology
Your vehicle may be equipped with all-wheel drive, electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes, but no technology can guarantee your safety on icy roads. Safety devices are designed to enhance safe driving techniques, not compensate for a lack of them.
3. Leave Home Early
When weather conditions are poor, give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination safely. If weather conditions are extremely hazardous, consider postponing your trip.
4. Use Headlights
Headlights allow other drivers to see you more easily, especially in blustery weather. If you have an older vehicle with yellowish pitted headlights, you may want to consider upgrading to newer, clearer headlights for improved visibility. Always make sure your headlights and taillights are clear of snow.
5. Learn to Use Brakes Efficiently
Slamming on the brakes in snowy weather is a sure-fire way to spin out of control. Instead, anticipate slowdowns and coast for as long as possible. When you do need to use your brakes, tap them gently.
6. Watch for “Black Ice”
One of winter’s worst hazards is transparent ice on the roadway, or “black ice.” Black ice is clear, almost invisible ice that may appear to be a harmless puddle or may be impossible to see at all. It is tremendously slick.
Keep a look out for ice on guardrails and ditches, as this may be a sign of icy road conditions. If you hit a patch of black ice, take your foot off the gas pedal and don’t tap your brakes. Once your tires regain traction, reduce your speed and stay alert.
7. Identify Hazardous Roads
If you use the same roads often, identify danger zones and learn to avoid them. If a house on a certain corner has an automatic lawn sprinkler that sprays water onto the street in freezing weather, consider taking an alternate route in the winter.
8. Clear Line of Sight
If you can’t see clearly out of your windows or mirrors, you can’t drive safely. Clean the inside of your windows, replace windshield wiper blades, set rear-view mirrors and make sure your windshield washer fluid has anti-ice fluid.
9. Buy Winter Tires
When driving in snowy or icy conditions, equipping your vehicle with winter tires is essential. Without an adequate amount of traction, your tires will have a difficult time holding the road. So-called ‘all season’ tires aren’t always snow-safe. Winter tires that meet tire-industry snow traction standards have a snowflake symbol etched on the sidewall.