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Winter Driving Advice – How to Stay Safe

Driving Through the Snow-Tips for Safe Winter Driving

You’re finally done with work, two hours later than you planned, and you can’t wait to get home.   Turning out of the parking lot you notice a few flurries.  On the expressway, however, the flurries multiply and somehow become bigger, faster, and stronger.  With the dropping temperature you feel your tires slip as ice forms on the road.  If visibility wasn’t bad enough, now your windows start to fog.  Things are getting dicey and you just want to make it home in one piece.  Follow these dos and don’ts of winter driving and you will.

Do assess the situation when conditions are bad.  If you don’t have to go out it’s best to wait.

Don’t speed.  In bad conditions you may need to drive under the speed limit.  And remember everyone’s driving in the same conditions you are so they’ll be late too.

Do leave earlier than usual.  If it looks like conditions might be bad, skip the second cup of coffee and hit the road sooner.

Don’t tailgate.  Leave more distance between yourself and the car ahead of you.

Do use your windshield wipers and defrost if it’s snowing to maximize visibility.

Don’t start driving until your car is cleared of snow, including the hood, trunk, lights, and roof.  This way snow won’t fly off the car while driving, impairing visibility.  If snow or frost piles up on windows while driving safely pull over and remove it.

Do follow the leader and drive in tracks already on the road to decrease the risk of spinning out.

Don’t use cruise control.  Breaking to deactivate the cruise control may be enough to lose control of the car if there is hidden ice.

Do drive with your lights on, even during the day, to better see the road and allow other drivers to better see you.

Don’t make sudden movements with the car.  Gunning the gas, slamming the breaks, and sharp turns all risk losing control of the vehicle.

Do know what to do if you skid.  If your front wheels skid take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral.  When traction starts to return gently steer in the direction you want to go.  If your back wheels skid, turn in the direction the back wheels are going.

Don’t pump the brakes if you have ABS.  Keep your foot on the petal.  If your brakes are having a problem it’s too risky to be on the road in slick conditions.  Take your car to a reliable mechanic to have them checked out.

Do keep an emergency kit in the car that includes gravel, warm winter clothes, and water/snacks in case you get stuck.  It’s also best to drive with at least half a tank of gas and a charged cell phone.

Don’t take back roads.  These roads are less likely to be plowed or salted and if you are in an accident it will be harder to find you.

Do stay calm.  It’s the best way to maneuver through bad driving conditions. If you do get stuck, call for roadside assistance or 911.  Make sure your vehicle is visible and wait in the car with a window slightly cracked so the car doesn’t become sealed shut.  Avoid running the car for more than 10 minutes at a time and if you start to get cold wiggle your arms and legs.  Help will come.  Safe and Happy Driving from!

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