Winter Driving Safety Tips

As the weather turns cold, are you prepared to face the hazards of winter driving? Drivers should brush up on their winter driving skills each year and remember these easy winter driving tips.

Winter driving tips

Clean all debris from your vehicle

Before you get behind the wheel, it’s important to remove all snow and ice from the windshields, windows, tops, and sides of your vehicle – yes, all of it! Don’t forget to clear any ice blocking your exhaust pipe lest fumes leak back inside the vehicle.

Use low gears on hills

Low gears offer more traction on hills. Vary your speed and gear use very deliberately in winter weather to maximize traction and minimize the possibility of slides or skids. This also means you should almost never use cruise control on snow or ice.

Drive slowly and allow more stopping distance

Even with snow tires, your vehicle may require more distance to stop than it would in dry conditions. A good rule of thumb is to allow three times the amount of stopping distance in snow or ice than on a dry road. Excessive speeds make it difficult to achieve this. Don’t stop if you don’t have to, especially on hills. The more often you have to start moving from a complete stop, the more often you risk getting stuck.

Don’t drive if you don’t have to

If you don’t have to drive in the snow, don’t. It’s dangerous. However, if there’s just no other option, stay focused on the road and be prepared for unexpected hazards. Check the weather forecast, too. Knowing the conditions you’re likely to encounter can help you prepare accordingly.

Be mindful of black ice

It might look like a puddle, but it isn’t. It’s ice. And it can cause you to lose control. Remember that if a road looks slick, there’s a good chance it is. Maintain a slow speed and test any possible black ice patches by turning your wheels slightly or lightly applying the brakes.

Know skid and slide recovery procedures

Whether you’re in a front-wheel or rear-wheel skid, the following procedures will help you regain control of your vehicle:

  1. Take your foot off the pedals. Neither the accelerator nor the brake will help you in a skid. If anything, they could make it worse.
  2. Steer gently in the direction you want to go. Common skid recovery advice is to steer “in the direction of the skid,” but in a real skid you may not have time to think through the situation so carefully.
  3. As the vehicle regains traction, gently apply the brakes or the accelerator. This is where front-wheel and rear-wheel skid procedures differ slightly. In a front-wheel skid, gentle pressure on the brakes will help you regain control. However, in a rear-wheel skid, slowly accelerating will achieve the same.

Recovery procedures for full-on vehicle slides are similar. Remove your feet from the pedals and steer gently in the direction of intended travel.

Winter Driving Tips | All-Wheel Drive

Be aware of your vehicle’s capabilities this winter. If you’re tackling the roads on all-wheel drive, the experts have some advice for you.

Winter Driving Tips | Evaluate Changing Temperatures

Even with the best snow tires on the market, changing temperatures affect their ability to grip the road’s surface. Listen to the pros, and know what to expect when the thermometer drops.

Winter Driving Tips | Oversteer

When your car begins to oversteer in the snow, don’t panic. Take these tips from a pro, and prepare yourself for a possible skid.

Winter Driving Tips | Understeer

Before braving the elements this snowy season, take a tip from the experts. Knowing how to correct understeering is essential to keeping your family safe.

Winter Driving Tips | Vision Techniques

Even with the right equipment, winter driving takes skill. Learn how Vision Techniques are essential to safety this snowy season.

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