5 Tips for Safe Driving In the Snow
Driving in the snow can be a chilling experience for any driver. Ice makes the roads dangerous and unpredictable; just when you think the roads are safe, a patch of black ice can come out of nowhere. While it’s always safest to stay off the road when it’s snowy, sometimes you have no choice. We all have places to be and commitments to honor. When this is the case, be sure to review the following tips for safe driving in the snow:
- Clear ice and snow from your vehicle: Before you hit the road, scrape the ice and snow off all parts of your vehicle, including your hood, roof, lights, windows and signals. This will help ensure that other drivers can easily see you against the blurry, snowy backdrop.
- Give them a break: If your vehicle begins to lose control on an icy road, don’t use your brakes. Instead, take your foot off the accelerator and turn the wheel opposite the direction in which you’re skidding. While this may be counter-intuitive, it should prevent further erratic skidding and decrease your chances of getting into an accident.
- Check your tire pressure: It’s critical that your tires are equipped to handle adverse weather conditions, so check the pressure often. Deflated tires significantly decrease traction, increasing the likelihood of sliding on ice. For maximum safety, you may want to consider using snow tires.
- Give the car ahead of your extra space: As a rule of thumb, you’re advised to give the vehicle in front of you three to four seconds of following distance. When the roads are icy, this should be increased to 8-10 seconds. The extra time will help you come to a smooth stop if the person if front of you suddenly brakes.
- Stay alert and focused: Don’t ever let your guard down on the road. Even when conditions appear to have improved, you don’t know for sure. To ensure you’re always alert, don’t use cruise control. When you start losing traction, a split second can make all the difference in the world.