Despite the mild winter happening across the U. S. this season, there is still plenty of potential for difficult weather. If you must drive during winter weather here are some helpful tips to assist you in getting there safely. Remember to stay home until the snow plows and sanding trucks have had a chance to do their work, and allow yourself extra time to reach your destination. Make sure your car is prepared for the winter season and that you know how to handle road conditions when the weather turns bad. It can be helpful to practice winter driving techniques in a snowy, open parking lot to help you be familiar with how your car handles in winter conditions. Also consult your owner’s manual for tips specific to your vehicle.
Driving safely on icy roads
1. Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
2. Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
3. Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
4. Keep your lights and windshield clean.
5. Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
6. Don’t use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
7. Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet,
you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.
If you get stuck…
1. Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper.
2. Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.
3. Use a light touch on the gas, to ease your car out.
4. Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car.
5. Pour sand, cat litter, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels, to help get traction (consider keeping an amount of this in your vehicle during the winter months).
6. Try rocking the vehicle. (Check your owner’s manual first — it can damage the transmission on some vehicles.) Shift from forward to reverse, and back again. Each time you’re in gear, give a light touch on the gas until the vehicle gets going.
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