Tips for Driving in Winter
The winter season often brings severe weather. This can be a challenging time for drivers, no matter their expertise behind the wheel. From brutal snowstorms to adverse road conditions, the cold months can prove to be rather treacherous.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that there are approximately 500,000 crashes due to weather conditions and over 2,000 deaths on the road every winter.
Due to the increased chances of an accident, it is important for all drivers to know how to safely navigate their vehicles in wet and icy conditions. To help out with that, here are some of the most useful tips for driving safely in winter.
Driving on snow or ice means there are high chances for reduced traction. As such, it is imperative for drivers to lower their speed when driving in these conditions. Driving too fast can cause the car to slide. If a slip like this occurs on a busy road, there are increased chances that an accident could occur.
Accelerate and Decelerate Slowly
Where driving slowly refers to the overall speed of a vehicle, accelerating and decelerating pertain to how quickly that speed is reached or reduced. Accelerating or decelerating too quickly on an icy road could cause the car to slide. If you lose traction, remember to apply the gas slowly. If you have to stop for a light, apply the brake slowly and purposefully so you do not lose traction.
If you find yourself driving on a slippery road, direct your focus as far ahead as you can see. This will allow you to anticipate any actions you will need to take, such as accelerating or decelerating. Additionally, this will give you ample time to slow down if you need to make a turn or bring your vehicle to a complete stop.
Know What To Do During Skids
Skidding can be a terrifying experience. All of a sudden, you hit a slick spot, and your car starts to slide away from your intended direction. If this happens to you, it is important to know how to manage it so you can bring your car under control.
As a rule of thumb, it is important to know that you should not slam on the brakes. Additionally, there are two ways to handle skidding. Which method you execute will depend on whether it is a front-wheel skid or a rear-wheel skid.
A front-wheel skid occurs when a car’s front tires lose traction, and the car makes a wider turn than expected. In these situations, gently remove your foot from the gas and point the car in the direction you want to travel. This should give the car enough time to regain traction so you can move toward your intended destination.
Rear-wheel skids occur when the back tires lose traction. These types of skids can result in spinouts and are a little trickier to navigate.
If you find yourself experiencing a rear-wheel skid, turn the wheel of the vehicle in the same direction the rear end of your vehicle is sliding. While doing this, ease off the accelerator and refrain from pumping the brakes. When your rear wheels start to regain their grip, steer the car in the direction you wish to travel.
Drive Deliberately During Winter Months To Stay Safe
The trick to driving safely during the winter months is to do so deliberately. This involves being aware of three mechanisms: the steering wheel, brakes, and accelerator. When you are stopping or accelerating, take your time and do so gently. Making erratic movements can cause your vehicle to lose traction and increase your chances of getting into an accident.