Now that we’re in the throes of winter, driving is more difficult in some parts of the country. Winter’s snow and ice turns roads into slippery stretches of pavement where traction is fleeting and crashes are easier to come by. The key to safe winter driving is to change the way you drive.
Here are the top three tips for driving safely this time of year:
A car requires friction to stop. Yet friction is noticeably absent when roads are covered with snow and ice. As such, you can’t expect to stop as quickly. Do yourself a favor and slow down. Give yourself more time to stop without having to apply the brakes as hard as you do during the summer.
Slowing down also makes turns safer. At slower speeds, your car is less likely to slide around corners. That means fewer fish tales and less fading on the turns.
Stopping is the biggest winter concern. When you need to stop, apply your brakes gently. Don’t slam the pedal or you will lose traction and go sliding off the road. If you do start to slide, take your foot off the brake and adjust the steering wheel. Steer in the opposite direction and gently accelerate until you recover.
Finally, your drive wheels are moving whenever your car is in gear. Take the car out of gear and that changes. If your car starts to slide, put it into neutral. Just be careful to do it slowly so that you don’t accidentally put it in park and tear up your transmission.
Winter driving is all about caution. Drive more slowly, give yourself plenty of time, and take it easy. You’ll eventually get to your destination.