As the winter rolls on, driving in snow will become a common occurrence. An ounce of preparation will pay dividends when it comes to staying safe while driving in poor road conditions.
Get Your Car Serviced: It doesn’t matter what season we’re in, no one wants their car to break down. However, this is especially true in winter. Get your vehicle a check-up to make sure everything is running smooth.
Check for Recalls: Part of that check-up should be a check for recalls. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a handy tool you can use to check if your vehicle has had any recalls issued. Critical issues can be fixed at your nearest dealer for free!
Know Your Car: Every car handles differently in snow. Take time to learn how your car reacts to poor weather conditions.
Clear off snow and ice from your vehicle: Turn on your defrosters and brush off the roof of your car while the defrosters work on your front and rear windshields. By the time you get to brushing off the windshield, the ice will be falling off!
Brakes: Allow for longer braking distance in the winter. The snow and ice, more than any other road condition, will require you to brake two or three times longer than usual. And as anyone who has ever driven in large amounts of snow can tell you, sometimes braking doesn’t help. In those situations, it would be best not to attempt driving at all.
One action at a time: Doing multiple driving actions like braking while turning will cause your car to slide in the winter. When planning on turning, brake first, and then turn. Completing one action before starting another will allow you to course correct if something goes wrong during one action.
No false moves: Any sudden actions can cause your car to be thrown off balance. Driving like you have a hot cup of coffee in your lap is the best way to describe how you need to drive in the winter.
How to correct a slide: If the back end of your car is starting to fishtail (sliding out left or right), turn your steering wheel in the direction of the slide. However, do not overcorrect, because that will cause your car to spin. Hitting the brakes will also make things worse.
Turn off traction control: When driving on a snowy hill, momentum is your friend! Traction control is great for maintaining stability, but will cut down on your momentum. Turning off the system on hills and turning it back on once on you’re on level ground can help during the winter months.
Use these tips to keep your car safe this winter season!
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