Top Tips for Driving During the Winter
Driving during the winter can be an upsetting and difficult experience. Thousands of people crash every year while driving during the winter. These crashes often cause expensive repairs and increased insurance premiums. Winter car crashes can also be fatal, killing hundreds of people every year. Driving during winter requires careful considerations of road conditions and careful driving methods that help avoid crashes and fender benders.
Pre journey checks
Clean off your lights before leaving and turn them on immediately. This will warm them up and keep snow and ice from gathering on the surface. Keep them on as you drive to increase your visibility to other motorists. Check your wipers to make sure they are clean and use them during snow storms. Check your windshield fluid to make sure you have enough for the trip.
The most obvious thing to do during bad winter driving conditions is simply to slow down. Try to keep at least three times the normal length between you and the car in front of you. Snow and ice can make it nearly impossible to stop quickly in the winter. With excessive length between you and the car between you, it should give you enough room to stop.
Carefully manage how you use your break. Break very gently instead of quickly to avoid skidding. Ease off the brake if you feel the wheels lock up or feel the car start to skid. If you have a manual transmission, stay in lower gears to give yourself the traction to go over ice and snow. This is especially useful going up or down hills.
Never use your cruise control in bad winter conditions. Cruise control will automatically speed or up slow down your car to reach your desired speed. This can cause a quick burst of speed which can be a major problem on icy and snowy roads. Manage your speed during these difficult driving conditions.
Avoid “vehicle ego” in bad conditions. Drivers that have four wheel drive, all-wheel drive and front wheel drive vehicles often think their vehicles can handle any road conditions. You’ll see them passing you going 70 miles per house while you’re going 40. Stick to going 40. These vehicles are powerful, but they cannot handle all conditions.
Be prepared for getting stuck in the snow. Carry food and water with you while you drive in adverse conditions. Have warm blankets and self-heating pads in an emergency kit, as well as tow wires and jumping cables. Always carry a cell phone and a flash light.
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