Driving in the winter is not that easy because of the hazardous weather such as a snowstorm, or heavy wind. The roads are getting icy and wet during those conditions, making it more difficult to drive.
This article offers you 5 Essential winter car driving safety tips. With these tips, drivers can get better protection for themselves as well as their families.
1. Keep your car out of snow and ice
If you are about to drive but the weather is not supportive, guaranteeing your visibility is the priority. It can be snowy, windy, or freezing cold, so it is important for your vehicle to clear off. It means that you should brush all car’s parts such as the car’s hood, headlights, taillights, and windows.
In case you cannot clear the snow off your car roof, it may fall onto the windshield while you are driving or decelerating. And you know, in several provinces, it is considered a fineable offense.
Besides, the freezing temperatures might lead to the build-up of ice on the vehicle’s surface. To remove the ice out of your windows, it is better to use the de-icing spray. Additionally, when your car’s parked, remember to lift the wipers so that they will not freeze to the car windshield.
Moreover, you should use sand, kitty litter, or salt to put around tires to keep their traction. As you may know, the salt or sand will help to melt the ice and snow, providing more traction to the tires on snow. That is why drivers should keep a handy bag of sand, salt, or even kitty litter in their cars.
If you do not have these substances, think about a wooden, flat board. In a nutshell, try to use solid and flat objects.
Another way to clear off the ice might be to rock your car. It is very simple when you sit in your car and start to rock back and forth simultaneously. When you rock, the car will construct momentum and get more traction. Finally, the snowbank will be put out of the way at once. But keep in mind to not spin the tires.
2. Keep controlled and composed when the road is slippery
Slamming on the car brakes if it is icy or snowy has to be avoidable. Instead, you should pump the brakes because you will not slide but stop faster. These days, every car is equipped with the ABS that helps you to stop safely in slippery conditions.
For some cars which have the standard transmission, you just need to downshift through your gears. Then, your car will be slowed down without using the brakes. Specifically, when you go down a hill, this becomes handier. Yet, make sure not to feather the car clutch when you release.
Also, when you turn a corner, do not speed up or brake hard. If you do that accidentally, you should ease the brakes off first. After that, direct the steering wheel in the way you need to go. Below are some tips for you to handle the situation if the front wheel loses traction.
- Stay calm and do not panic.
- Do not touch the gas pedals or the brake. Instead, you should ease the gas without turning quickly or accelerating.
- Only accelerate when you get out of the icy patch.
In case you drive on a street or a backroad that is not salted or sanded, there might be some risk of a skid. Thus, steer straightly as much as possible and brake lightly. How about controlling the rear wheel out of sliding when you drive around the corner?
To avoid the rear-wheel skid, you had better turn it into your slide with the steering wheel so that you can straighten your vehicle. By doing that, the skid will be alleviated, then you can get total control of the car. Remember that over-steering only perpetuates the issues. Hence, staying conscious is better.
3. Keep a safe stopping distance
Driving in hazardous weather such as a snowstorm is not easy for all drivers, especially inexperienced ones. In this situation, drivers should drive slowly as much as they can. The key to saving everyone’s lives is the distance between cars. You can imagine that there should be a suitable space as well as time for you to apply the brake safely.
Under any circumstances, do not slam. Just slow down your speed and let other drivers pass if they want to drive faster or tailgate.
4. Plan before setting off on your journey
Some people often underestimate planning when driving in poor weather. So here are some important tips that you should remember:
Make sure that all pedestrians, motorists, and drivers see you. Thus, you have to turn on the headlights and clear all snow. There will be a blind spot so that you find it difficult to see other cars, especially during extreme weather. It is recommended that you keep your eyes peeled to notice all movement.
Keep remained on the main lane
In some places, the wind and snow are heavy so they can affect your driving. Some cities and towns have salt trucks or snowplows to maintain the main roads first before side streets and back roads. Thus, you should keep your vehicle on the main road to avoid unsalted and unplowed road conditions.
5. Equip emergency kit in your car
Few drivers remember to carry the emergency supplies in their cars. So, having the winter kit can be a great lifesaver to some certain extent. Some basic tools you should have to include the torch, the ice scraper, high-visibility clothing, and warm blankets.
Otherwise, you have to bring a first-aid kit. This is a must-have item. Besides, there are some other items such as extra batteries, food, or phone charger that you can consider bringing along. Last but not least, fulfill your tank as it helps you to stay warm if some bad luck happens during the trip.
Above are 5 Essential winter car driving safety tips. Hopefully, after knowing these tips, you are aware of what to do during the winter season and have a safe trip.