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safety January 06, 2015

Winter Driving Tips

Winter weather can be magical. Snow men, hot chocolate and frosted forests are some of the great joys of the season. However, this same weather can wreak havoc on roadways. If you can, stay home during severe weather. If you must venture out, here are some tips to help you arrive at your destination safely.

Photo: AAA.com

Before you go

  • Clear all snow from the vehicle.

  • Add cold weather gear to your vehicle safety kit:

    • This includes winter boots, socks, gloves, jacket, ice scraper, shovel, kitty litter or sand.

  • Make sure you have at least a half tank of gas.

  • Check your tire tread to ensure ample traction.

    • A simple penny test will do. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, your tires are unsafe and need replacement.

  • Check your tire pressure.

  • Test all lights and wipers to make sure they are operating correctly.


On the Roads

  • Always look and steer where you want to go.

  • Do not use cruise control

  • Leave lots of room between you and the vehicle in front of you

  • Decrease speed

  • Brake gently to avoid skidding. Ease off the brake if the wheels start to lock up.

  • Keep windshield and lights clean.

  • Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.

  • Be extra careful on bridges and overpasses which will freeze first.

  • Avoid stopping if you can. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it. The amount of inertia needed to start moving from a dead stop often causes trouble on slick roads.

  • Don’t stop going up a hill. When approaching a hill, get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you start climbing. If there is a vehicle in front of you, give them time and space to get a good distance in front of you before you attempt the hill.


Loosing Control?

Get the grip back:

  • Turn the wheel farther in the direction you are trying to go to counteract understeer.

  • For manual vehicles: Simultaneously remove foot from brake or accelerator pedal, fully depress clutch, straighten steering and the vehicle should regain traction

Get the grip back:

  • Steer in the direction that the back of the vehicle is sliding (steer into the skid). Beware of correcting the steering too much as this may cause the vehicle to slide back in the opposite direction.

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