The Key to Driving Safely in Adverse Weather Conditions
Now that it’s getting colder some parts of the country are experiencing snowy and icy conditions that aren’t conducive to safe driving, at least without some serious adjustments to your driving technique. Not only do you have to get snow tires and all the gear that will make your car handle more capably in these conditions, but you also have to learn how to drive your vehicle when the conditions aren’t great for it, and that’s a real adjustment for most people.
Get the Right Gear
The most important investment that you can make for your safety in cold-weather driving conditions is a pair of snow tires. They will allow you to brake more effectively and maintain your grip while turning and driving around as usual. With the proper snow tires you should consider adding chains or studs in order to enhance the traction on your tires even further. These accessories will only be used for severe weather driving and would have to be removed for the average days, but will really help enhance traction when it’s needed most.
Work in Slow Motion
Driving in winter weather isn’t just about lowering your speed, though that’s a pretty good first step. You also have to think about how you turn the vehicle. Changing direction too quickly while driving in the snow can lead to problems with sliding. You have to turn slowly and with a wider arc than you normally would for best performance. This takes some getting used to and you’ll have to practice in order to get good at driving in the snow without performance problems. To be sure that you’re safe go extremely slow while out in the snow or on icy roads at first, and over time you’ll develop a feel for winter driving that’s very safe.
Watch Far Ahead
It’s always important to remain aware of your surroundings while driving, but it becomes even more important while driving in the snow. It’s in your best interests to avoid driving after dark on snowy roads in general to help you avoid running into situations with low visibility. While driving look far ahead down the road and prepare to slow down as soon as you can so you can do it slowly. You have to begin braking sooner and slow down at a much slower pace than you would expect.
A Little Gas Makes all the Difference
In the event that you start to spin out and lose traction don’t make the major mistake of slamming down on your brakes. That will take a minor problem and turn it into something very serious. Instead lightly press down on the gas to keep the tires spinning and carefully ride out the problem. As long as you have some decent tires equipped the slipping will subside in a matter of moments and you can continue to drive as usual. The moment you press down on the brakes you go into an out-of-control slide that’s really hard to control.
Driving out on snowy and icy roads isn’t much fun. However, it doesn’t have to be unsafe if you know what you’re doing and you take the time to prepare adequately. Sure some work is involved, but you’ll feel more confident out on the road and shouldn’t have as many problems either.