As winter weather threatens, drivers must choose to stay home or proceed with their plans cautiously if it requires them to get behind the wheel of their car. Driving in snow presents challenges and dangers unique to the driver’s location, and motorists need to prepare for winter conditions in various ways.
Whether it is equipping your vehicle with seasonal gear like chains or changing your driving habits, driving in snow, sleet and freezing rain require a safety plan. Keep the following tips in mind to avoid serious accidents and injury this year.
TOP 5 TIPS FOR SAFE SNOW DRIVING
5. Memorize dangerous stretches of road
In addition to safety devices and procedures, drivers should try to memorize danger zones in their town with conditions known to cause accidents. Being aware of your region’s most hazardous spots — areas with poor drainage or bridges that routinely freeze over — can help you avoid snow driving crashes.
4. Beware “black ice”
Often disguising itself as a shallow puddle on the road, black ice is a slick patch of water that freezes and becomes nearly impossible to see. If you are unsure whether you are about to drive through a patch of black ice, decelerate significantly and apply your brakes slowly to test the traction.
3. Avoid tailgating
Though following too closely is always a dangerous practice, in snowy conditions the risk of a serious accident occurring becomes even greater. If you begin to slide as you brake, less space between your vehicle and the one in front of you means less time to react and possibly and unavoidable collision.
2. Never slam on the brakes
It’s tempting to hit the brakes hard when you feel your car begins to slide, but this can cause you to lose control of the vehicle. Instead, ease off of the accelerator and apply the brakes slowly so the anti-lock system can takeover. If your car does not have ABS, pump the brakes quickly until you gain the necessary traction to slow down.
1. Slow down
Time and again, speeding is cited as a leading factor in snow driving accidents. When a vehicle begins to slide on slick ground, precious seconds of reaction time are lost if the motorist is driving too fast for conditions.
Always slow your speed when the temperature is close to freezing and snow is beginning to fall. Posted speed limits are not always going to reflect a speed safe for driving in adverse weather, so it is important to use good judgment when traveling on slippery roadways.