Snowy and icy road conditions affect about 85% of the United States each year. It is a significant cause of automobile accidents and can turn a 20-minute commute into an hour-long adventure. Even the most seasoned cold weather drivers will find blowing and drifting snow and slick, icy roads challenging. Those who haven't previously experienced the conditions can find them paralyzing.
Those who have lived in areas that experience snow and ice for some time may have a kind of sixth sense for knowing when to limit travel during these conditions. However, when driving is necessary, there are some winter driving tips that can better keep you and your family safe, on the road, and headed in the right direction. If precautions aren't taken, a drive to the store can turn into an off-road experience requiring the services of a tow-truck. There are few more unnerving driving experiences like losing control of a vehicle in snowy or icy road conditions.
If you're new to an area that experiences a significant amount of snow and ice, or simply want to brush up on your best practices, this page is for you. Our Winter Driving Tips Guide starts with what you should know before you depart in the winter and what you should have in your car. We will explore warning signs and the importance of a properly serviced car. You'll know how to better protect yourself and your loved ones when experiencing diverse winter driving conditions.
This guide will alert you to potential danger zones and offer a series of safe driving tips involving speed and distance, the importance of keeping your car rolling and why snow tires can help. Our guide includes tips on maintaining good visibility, keeping your exhaust pipes clear of snow and even on preparing for the worst. You'll understand the dangers of black ice and how to drive on icy roads. Drivers will have a much better idea of how to control a slide should one occur and what to do in the event of an accident.
Winter can be white-knuckle driving season. Here are our winter/icy road driving tips to help build your confidence and keep your family safer in less-than-ideal winter driving conditions.
• If you have ABS brakes, know how they feel when they engage so you don't panic and that you understand what denotes slippery conditions– even if your car is still in control.
• Walking and cycling on black ice is also dangerous and can cause you to slip. Cyclists need to take extra care as slipping can lead you into the pathway of car and truck traffic.
• Have snow tires fitted before the temperatures drop low enough to cause black ice. This is especially important if you're traveling outside your urban areas and you're not familiar with the roads and weather conditions.
• Stay off of the phone, and don't mess with the radio. Pay attention to the road or you might wreck!
• A good tip for any ice driving is to avoid sudden movements. Quickly turning your tires, accelerating or braking can cause you to lose traction. One way to adapt your driving style to winter travel is to imagine an egg between your foot and the gas and brake pedals. Make it a priority to keep the imaginary egg intact. You'll find yourself driving more cautiously in no time
• If driving downhill in slick conditions: if you have anti-lock brakes (ABS) start at the top of the hill as slowly as possible, leaving your vehicle in normal drive gear. Use light, steady pressure on the brake pedal to maintain the right speed. This allows your braking system to maintain traction. If you don’t have ABS, start slowly and keep it slow by lightly pumping the brakes.
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