Safe Winter Driving
Safe Winter Driving Tips
1. Clear snow and ice from all windows, the lights, the roof and the hood before driving. Chunks of ice can fly off your car and shatter the windshield of the car behind you. If you get behind a large vehicle, such as an 18-wheeler, watch for air-borne ice chunks coming off its trailer roof.
2. Leave plenty of room for stopping. Allow at least two to three times the usual distance. Stopping time increases from 3 to 4 seconds to more than 9 seconds. The best idea: don’t stop unless you absolutely have to. If you can, slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes.
3. Get to know how your vehicle behaves in snow, especially your brakes. Go to an empty parking lot and practice so you can gauge how your brakes behave.
4. Don’t get overconfident in your 4X4 vehicle. It may get you going quicker, but it won’t help you stop any quicker. In fact, because many 4X4s are heavier than conventional vehicles they may take even longer to stop.
5. Don’t use the “cruise control” option in wintery conditions. Even roads that appear clear can have slick spots and the slightest touch of your brakes can send you into a skid.
6. Leave plenty of room for maintenance vehicle and plows. Stay at least 200 feet back and don’t pass on the right.
7. Exit ramps don’t get all the de-icing chemicals and other attention that highways do so they tend to be slicker than the road itself. Slow down well before you come to the ramp.
8. Bridge decks freeze before the road does. Slow down on the approach to the bridge.
9. Know the road conditions you are driving into. Use your cell phone to check your local station’s weather forecast before you leave.
10. Don’t try to out-drive the conditions. Remember, the posted speed limits are for DRY pavement. Obey the reduced speed limits shown on signs for bad weather.
11. Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze ups. Check your tire tread and tire pressure often to be sure they are properly inflated. Never mix radial tires with other types. Tests show that snow tires provide better traction than high performance or so-called all weather tires. Check your windshield wipers and consider installing winter wipers designed to handle ice and snow.
12. Never warm your vehicle up in an enclosed area, like your garage. If you park outside, make sure your exhaust pipe is not clogged with snow or stuck into a snowbank before you start the vehicle.
The bottom line: Don’t go out unless you really have to. Even if you are an experienced driver in snowy and icy conditions, not everyone else is. Don’t temp fate unnecessarily!