8 Tips for Safe Winter Driving
Driving in the wintertime is a completely different ballgame than your everyday driving. There is snow and ice to contend with, including ice that you can’t even see. Add to that dealing with other drivers that aren’t quite sure how to drive in winter weather, and driving can be downright dangerous.
Here are some tips for safe winter driving so you can feel safe on the roads.
Take Your Time
One huge factor in safe winter driving is not to be in a hurry. Keep your speeds a little below the speed limit, and definitely do not speed. Keeping it slow and steady is how you’re going to get to where you need to be. Driving too fast can lead to spinning, losing control, or not being able to stop fast enough.
Keep Your Distance
Keep in mind that your stops might take you a little longer than usual, especially because you won’t want to slam on the brakes for fear of skidding. Try to keep a safe distance from other vehicles, not only so you don’t skid if you have to make any sudden stops, but also because you don’t want them to hit you.
Keep your speed low and your braking steady. Avoid slamming on the brakes or making sharp turns because they can lead to losing traction. Instead, be a gentle driver and make calculated and steady turns and movements.
Don’t Get Cocky
It’s never a good idea to assume that your vehicle can handle any kind of weather or that you will be able to control your vehicle if things go south. Make safe decisions and know when to just stay home.
Learn How to Skid
In icy weather, slips and skids are notorious for leading to bigger accidents, often because the driver does not know how to maneuver their car. In the event of skidding, remain calm. Do not slam on the brakes or turn your steering wheel erratically. Instead, slow down gently and turn into the skid. If your rear wheels are skidding left, turn your wheel towards the left slightly. You might find that you skid back and forth for a few moments before the car regains control.
Avoid being in a hurry and passing other vehicles. Especially after a big snow, you are bound to get caught behind a plow or truck, but it is best that you do not try to pass them. First of all, you could be putting yourself and other drivers in danger. Secondly, the roads are likely much worse ahead of that road worker.
Handle Sticky Situations
Getting stuck is another issue to contend with when it comes to winter driving. Many people try to step on the gas to get unstuck, but you will likely just make things worse. Instead, try easing forward or backing up slowly. During the winter, it is a good idea to carry a bag of something for traction such as rock salt, sand, or kitty litter.
Know When to Call for Help
To keep yourself and other people safe, know when to give up and call for help. Keep the number for roadside assistance with you at all times, or keep a card in your glove box.
Driving during harsh winter weather can be a daunting task, but with these tips you can stay safe and get to where you need to go.
Looking for more tips on safe winter driving? Check out this article by the Canada Safety Council on Winter Driving Tips.