With winter weather looming across much of the country this time of year, it's smart to brush up on your winter driving safety tips. Before you head out in snowy or icy conditions, take a look at our list of must-see tips for traveling in winter weather.
One of the best rules to follow when it comes to winter weather, is not to drive in it, unless you absolutely have to. That's it- don't leave your house. If you know the threat of bad weather is possible, stock up on the things you may need before the winter storm arrives. Get groceries, and any other needed items, like bottled water, generators, batteries, and candles a day or two in advance. You may want to keep these items stocked through the winter, especially if you live in an area which is prone to winter storms.
That said, it's more of a luxury to be able to stay home, even when bad weather strikes. So may professionals have to hit the roadways whether or not there are snow and ice on them. If you have to drive in slick conditions...
There's no need to be in a hurry when the roads are bad. Your trip will take as long as it will take, so you'd might as well slow down, and get there safely. Allow plenty of space between your car and the car in front of you. Make sure your lights are on, so other vehicles can see you. If you need to brake, do so gently. Slamming on your brakes will likely cause your wheels to lock up, and then cause your car to skid.
What to do if your wheels lock up...
Don't panic. Take your foot off the gas, and then steer the steering wheel in the direction you want your car to go.Don't pump your brakes if you have (ABS), give them a steady push, and you'll feel them pulse.
Don't drive behind or try to pass snow plows or salt/slag trucks. Keep your distance, and make sure that they can see you. Keep snow and ice off of your windshield. Brush any snow that has piled up on the roof of your vehicle off before you move your car. Snow can fall from the roof onto the windshield and cause an accident. Avoid using cruise control on icy roads. Don't use bridges or overpasses if you can help it.
If your car gets stuck in the snow or on the ice, remain calm. You can probably get out of the stuck situation yourself, by trying a few different things. The first thing to remember is not to hit the gas and spin your wheels. This will only lead to your car getting stuck in deeper snow. You can try using kitty litter, sandpaper or gravel underneath the tires to gain traction. You can also try gently turning the wheels from side to side to push the snow out of the way, and then gently pushing on the gas.
Dealing with and driving in wintry weather can be really tough. It makes commuting dangerous, and can lead to accidents. If you can, stay home and stay off the roads until they are clear. If you have to drive on icy roads, use extreme caution, and stay safe.
Brought to you by Thompson Toyota.