Winter driving often poses hazardous conditions for drivers, unfamiliar with navigating slick, icy roads. Here are five basic winter driving tips to observe.
Regardless of what time of year it is, it’s always a good idea to check weather reports and construction updates to plan travel accordingly, deferring travel until there’s a reprieve in any winter weather advisories.
Winter Driving Tip #1: Proper tire management
Tires influence traction, braking and overall road performance on unruly pavement. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends checking tires at least once a month. Use a tire gauge to ensure proper inflation. Also, switch tires seasonally to accommodate driving conditions. (Winter tires have a 6/32 inch tread depth. New vehicle tires average 10/32-inch of tread)
Winter Driving Tip #2: Be prepared.
In addition to checking weather and road conditions prior to road travel, be prepared for unforeseen scenario. In the event of freezing temperatures and to avoid frozen gas line, maintain the gas tank at least 50 percent full. The National Safety Council recommends having a snow shovel, tire jack, jumper cables and chain emergency road kit. It also would be wise to have a bag of sand or salt, flares, solar panel crank radio, and a bottle of water.
Winter Driving Tip #3: Adjust driving distance and speed, drastically.
Unlike the ability to stop, slow down or turn on a dry surface, vehicles don’t have the same control on icy or snow covered roads. Over-acceleration causes automobiles under 10,ooo pounds to lose traction on snowy, icy road conditions. As a result, leave a three to four car distance at speeds under 35 mph; and, five to six auto spaces at speeds over 40 mph.
Winter Driving Tip #4: No time for cruise control.
Any slippery or traction-less road is unsuitable for deploying the cruise control system. Whether it’s rain, ice or snow.
Winter Driving Tip #5: Steer-less on skids.
In the event of a skid, let up on the gas, without slamming on the brakes. Steer less to gain vehicular control.