The most important winter driving tip is a simple one. Don’t leave the house, if you don’t need to, but unfortunately, most of us don’t have the luxury of letting the winter weather run its course. We have to get out there and get things done. So if you must leave the house, I recommend not leaving your warm and cozy abode until you are sure the snow plows and salt trucks have had a chance to do their job – don’t be in a hurry!
If you are heading out to face those dangerous winter driving conditions here are some more important tips for driving on icy roads this winter.
Driving safely on icy roads
- Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
- Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake. Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
- Keep your headlights and windshield clean from snow and ice.
- Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
- Don’t use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
- Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.
- Don’t pass snow plows and salt trucks. The drivers have limited visibility, and you’re likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.
- Don’t assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and all-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.
If your rear wheels skid
- Take your foot off the accelerator.
- Steer in the direction you want the front wheels to go. If your rear wheels are sliding left, steer left. If they’re sliding right, steer right.
- If your rear wheels start sliding the other way as you recover, ease the steering wheel toward that side. You might have to steer left and right a few times to get your vehicle completely under control.
- If you have standard brakes, pump them gently.
- If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS), do not pump the brakes. Apply steady pressure to the brakes. You will feel the brakes pulse.
If your front wheels skid
- Take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, but don’t try to steer immediately.
- As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and traction will return. As it does, steer in the direction you want to go. Then put the transmission in DRIVE or release the clutch, and accelerate gently.
If you get stuck
- Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper.
- Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.
- Use a light touch on the gas, to ease your car out.
- Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car.
- Pour sand, kitty litter, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels, to help get traction.
Safely driving in the winter is hard enough. Snow and ice make even the most routine drive dangerous. It’s not too late to make sure your vehicle is in good shape for handling the extreme winter conditions.
Whether you are shopping for a new or used vehicle, Glenn Ford is here to make sure your entire car shopping experience is stress-free from start to finish. To Schedule A Test Drive call us at (859) 271-1800.