10 Tips for driving safely in the snow and ice.
It happens every year, yet it somehow always feels like a surprise: snow and ice make the roads slippery. The first day the roads are slick, the cars piled up in ditches is a sure sign that everyone’s forgotten what it takes to drive safely in the ice and snow. Before you head out to enjoy this year’s winter wonderland, read and follow these ten tips to get you there and back again in one piece:
The only tip on this list 100% guaranteed to help you avoid a wreck is this one: stay home. If you don’t have to go, don’t.
Watch the forecast and plan your drives to avoid heavy snowfall or freezing temps. The next worst thing to driving in winter weather is getting caught in that weather unprepared.
You need to clear all the snow and ice from your vehicle before driving. First and foremost, you need to ensure you have good visibility, but beyond that, if snow or ice breaks off your car and hits other vehicles on the road, you could cause a wreck.
Keeping your headlights on all the time increases the chance of pedestrians and other drivers seeing you.
In driver’s ed, you probably learned to keep two seconds between you and the forward vehicle. Your following distance needs to quadruple to eight seconds during winter weather at least. Your following distance needs to allow you ample room to brake slowly. In general, try to stay away from other cars, as far as you can.
There’s no rushing in the ice and snow. Remember, you can’t brake abruptly without risking a slide, so it’s essential to drive slowly. Plan extra time and be patient.
Flat or improperly inflated tires lose traction and are tough to steer. If you can manage it, invest in a set of snow tires with specialized treads or consider putting on chains. Every drop of ten degrees in temperature will decrease your tire pressure by about two PSI, so check your tires and add more air before venturing out.
If it’s slippery, you’re going to skid. It’s natural to hit the brakes when you feel a skid but don’t. Instead, take your foot off the gas and steer in the direction of the skid. As you slow down, you should regain traction. Once your car is traveling in a straight line, you can tap your brakes until the ABS engages, if you have one. If you were going at a safe speed and safe distance from other vehicles, this technique should help you avoid accidents.
If you’re going up a slippery hill, you need to build enough inertia at the start to make it all the way up without stopping or needing to add a lot of gas, which will cause your tires to spin. If you’re going down a slippery hill, start slowly and tap your brakes gently down to prevent sliding out of control.
At a minimum, don’t leave the house without winter boots, a warm coat, and gloves. If you encounter trouble, you’ll need your winter weather gear. Other items to keep in your car include the following:
- Ice scraper
- Shovel and sand or ice melt
Even after following all these tips, accidents happen. In that event, you’ll need to number of the best body shop in Houston to restore your car. Remember, as long as everyone is unhurt, it’s just a car, and cars can usually be repaired.
Be safe on the road this winter.