Even with well-equipped vehicles, driving in the snow or on roads covered in ice can be challenging and frightening. Severe weather conditions like winter storms, ice, and snow reduce the level of grip you have over your vehicle. This makes it difficult to steer and stop, even for the most experienced drivers.
The winter months are characterized by foggy conditions and little daylight hours, which creates difficult visibility. The US Department of Transportation’s statistics show that nearly one-quarter of weather related car accidents occur on a snowy or icy roadway.
It is crucial to take the right steps to drive safely under snowy conditions. Take a look at these six tips for safer winter driving:
Increase your following distance
Rear-end crashes are common road accidents. During harsh weather conditions with low visibility, drivers have little time to perceive and safely react to slowing down or stopping in traffic, which can result in a collision.
In normal weather and road conditions, the three-second rule dictates that cars keep a three-second following distance between your car and the one ahead. When visibility is challenged during such bad weather, drivers need to slow down and increase the following distance to five or six seconds.
Reduce your speed
During snowy climates, slow acceleration and deceleration are advised. The traction on the road is reduced during cold temperatures. Make sure to gently apply the gas to regain grip and prevent your vehicle from skidding off the road.
Always adjust your driving speed to account for the low grip when driving in the snow. During the colder times, speed limits are lowered to ensure that drivers can move safely. You must stay within these limits to prevent an avoidable accident.
Things can escalate quickly in snowy and icy weather conditions. The cold can affect your car’s mechanisms and components. In some cases, this could prevent you from effective defensive driving. This is where your vehicle’s anti-lock brake system (ABS) is needed.
ABS produces the right aggression to match the current traction while you drive to avoid colliding into obstacles or while you skid. In effect, it gives you improved control over your car.
Newer car models are equipped with ABS; however, owners of older vehicles can also get it as an upgrade. The braking system utilizes an onboard computer to optimize your driving during extreme situations and protect you from disasters.
Get snow tires
Snow tires are designed to withstand the challenges when driving during extreme winter conditions. They are built with features to ensure proper grip and enhanced controls during the most challenging months.
While all-season and summer tires work well in warm temperatures to endure the build-up heat on the road, snow tires are designed with tread rubber to maintain flexibility during cold weather. Investing in snow tires help you increase your grip and control over the vehicle in extreme temperatures.
Don’t power up or stop when going up a hill
Applying the gas all at once when climbing up snowy hills or steep roads will cause your wheels to turn faster and lose grip to make you start sliding down. In addition, stepping on the brakes can make you struggle to get moving again without slipping.
It is crucial to start accelerating gradually and consistently to build enough momentum to arrive at the top of the steep road. Keep your foot on the accelerator and press lightly, and if your wheels begin to turn, gradually ease down. Switch to a lower gear to prevent your engine from batting to provide enough power.
Get your car in top condition
Harsh winter conditions may not be forgiving, so it is essential to get your vehicle ready to avoid preventable crashes. Get any needed repairs done before taking your car out in the snow. If you get into an accident, get qualified collision repair in Salt Lake City to restore your car to safety standards.
Take steps to prepare your car with an emergency kit. Include items like a snow shovel, ice scraper, flares, flashlights, blankets, and any essentials in your winter emergency kit, and keep them in your car at all times. Keeping enough gas is also a smart approach to avoid getting stranded somewhere in the middle of the snow. Fuel up and don’t take chances.
Call Valley Collision to get your vehicle in top condition today.