Tips for Driving Safely in Winter
While safe driving is always encouraged, winter in particular requires special considerations. Slippery roads, reduced visibility, and the freezing cold create very real, very deadly dangers. Many drivers get through the winter, without a hitch, though, thanks to a few simple guidelines. The team at Fisher Honda has offered some great tips for driving in the wintertime. As with most possibly dangerous situations, the biggest thing to remember is to use common sense and drive for the conditions.
Be Cautious and be Informed
If you’re a driver who usually tailgates, your chance of causing a large pileup increases dramatically in winter. Slippery conditions increase your stopping distance, so you should increase the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Keep in mind that the faster you’re going, the longer it will take you to stop. Be smart and ease your foot off of the gas a little. To give you more torque on slippery surfaces, drive in lower gears than you normally would.
Bridges and overpasses have no ground beneath them to offer insulation, so any moisture on their surfaces will freeze before other parts of the road. Even if temperatures are above freezing, there might be icy spots in the shade. When you see a bridge coming, ease off of the gas, shift into a lower gear, and stay in your lane.
Skidding is scary, but with a little practice, you can handle it. If your back wheels begin to skid in one direction — known as fishtailing — turn your wheel the other direction to even yourself out, all while you pump the brakes. If you then slide the other way, correct it by turning the wheel in the other direction. You may have to go back and forth a few times to get your vehicle back on a straight path.
If your front wheels start to skid, brake gently and put the car in neutral. As your wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle to a point where your tires can grip the road again. Shift the car into drive again and take it easy.
If you find yourself stuck in deep snow, don’t gun the accelerator; you’ll only dig yourself in deeper. Turn your front wheels back and forth to push snow out of the way. Having a shovel, a pair of boots, and sandbags in your trunk is always a good idea in winter. Dig out around your tires and cover the ground with sand to give your vehicle more traction. Try putting the car in forward and reverse to see if you can get some traction to get out of there.