Snow comes every winter, and every year there are drivers who slide, spin out, and are severely injured because they don’t know how to drive on icy roads. The only way to prevent these crashes is by educating drivers and helping everyone on the road understand the top tips for driving in winter weather. Here’s how.
Improper braking is one of the leading causes of weather-related crashes. When the tires don’t have a strong grip on the road, they can hydroplane on snow or ice, meaning the car will begin to slide or drift. When this happens, drivers need to act fast.
In a panic, most drivers instinctively slam the brakes and turn the wheel away from the slide to regain control of the vehicle. While this works on a dry road, it causes the wheels to lock in place on a wet road, increasing the hydroplane effect.
Instead, you need to remain calm and rapidly pump the brakes to maintain control of your vehicle. The pumping action prevents the tires from locking and helps them regain grip on the roads. Likewise, you need to turn the steering wheel toward the drift to regain control of the vehicle.
But braking is only half the battle. Just as important is preventing these incidents from happening in the first place.
If you suspect there is snow or ice on the road, you should reduce your speed by 5-10 miles per hour. Going slower prevents hydroplaning, makes it easier to brake, and will increase the time you have to react to a potential hazard.
It’s simple: speeding on snow and ice means more water under your tire per second, which dramatically increases the risk of your tire losing grip on the road.
Just as important as driving slowly is accelerating slowly. Take care when you’re merging on the highway to accelerate evenly. If you floor it on a snowy road, you might spin in place (trapping yourself) or worse, lose control and launch yourself into another driver.
In all cases, it’s better to go slow in the snow. Brake slowly, drive slowly, and accelerate slowly. Do that, and you’re much less likely to be in a serious wreck.
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