Winter weather can be very unpredictable. One minute you are driving on a dry road and the next you are sliding on black ice. This causes many drivers to become unnerved and anxious while driving during the winter. You can avoid that nerve-racking situation by taking the time to learn the following five tips and tricks for driving safely in the snow and winter weather.
Obviously, when you are driving in winter weather it is important to slow your speed. But remember to also slow down your braking in addition to your acceleration. Any fast movement can cause you to slip and slide, so whether you are taking off at a green light or coming to a stop at a red light, proceed slowly. Push lightly on both the gas and the brake pedals in icy and snowy conditions.
When the ground is dry and driving conditions are normal, you typically keep a three- to four-second distance between you and the car in front of you. However, when roads are covered in snow or ice, you need to increase that space. During poor weather, maintain at least an eight- to 10-second distance between you and the car in front of you.
When driving down snowy roads, you will see tracks from the cars in front of you. Although you might be tempted to drive on those tracks, they are often the areas that become the slickest. Instead, move one side of your tires into the fresh powder, and you will find that you actually gain more traction. Fresh powder is drier than you would think, which makes it easier for your tires to get a grip.
No one is saying not to stop at a stop light or stop sign on a hill, but if you can avoid stopping on an icy or snowy hill, you should. Your tires typically can not get the traction they need to start back up the hill after stopping. You will begin to slide and possibly hit other cars.
If you have done everything you can do to avoid slipping yet you still find yourself in a slide, what do you do? This often happens on black ice and can be very frightening. However, knowing what to do before it happens will help. First, let your foot off the gas as well as the brake, because pressing either of these pedals can make the situation worse. Next, do not do anything quickly. Avoid your natural reaction to turn away from the spin and instead gently turn into the spin or slide. Turning toward it will help your tires gain traction and get you to a stop safely.
Although there is no guarantee these tips will solve all your winter driving problems, they will definitely help you have a safer driving experience. Good luck this winter, and drive safely.