Five Important Tips for Driving in Snow, Sleet and Other Winter Weather
Even though we can see the end of winter in sight, it is never too soon nor too late to learn how to drive in the coldest seasons of the month. There are millions of people who have to deal with inclement winter weather on a daily basis, making the trek from home to work and back again, as well as other routines that come with daily life. Throughout most of humanity, navigating through a winter storm or climate required warm clothing or a reliable animal, but modern conveniences have now made it possible to speed around town in ways unthinkable to past generations.
Unfortunately, this type of transportation creates new problems and risks for those who use it. Slushy and slippery roads can pose a threat to inexperienced drivers, while other aspects of the winter season may make it more likely for damage to occur to your car, auto glass and other related elements. If you want to ensure smooth sailing through the winter months in regards to your commute and daily driving, then you need to be prepared for all that winter entails. In the following article, we will discuss five important tips you need to know before you hit the road and while you are on it.
Don’t Overestimate Four Wheel Drive
The confidence from having a four wheel drive vehicle can make some feel as if no form of winter weather can stop them. The reality is that while four wheel drive can be a great way to gain a bit of torque and prevent struggling and slipping on hills and other areas, it does not mean that you have free reign to do whatever you wish on the snowy or icy roads. Particularly important when it comes to traction, four wheel drive vehicle can be subjected to many of the same variables as other automobiles, so it is vital to play it safe and drive at a consistent, reasonable speed at all times.
Avoid Brakes When Possible
Whenever the roads are wet, a good set of brakes can come in handy. When the road is icy or covered in snow, however, brakes can make a bad situation even worse. Most people who are experienced with winter weather avoid the brakes as much as possible in order to prevent skidding and loss of control. The brakes can quickly cause your vehicle to lose its traction, slide and even collide with other objects in the process. It is much better to maintain slow, steady speeds when driving through ice or winter weather, as this will allow brake use (when necessary) to be more gradual and less likely to cause your vehicle to skid or careen.
Clear Your Windshield
Before you get out on the roads in the morning, be sure to do a walk around your vehicle and remove any and all frozen precipitation from its exterior. Ice can often accumulate around the tailpipe and block toxic fumes and gas in the cabin of the automobile, while ice caked onto the windshield* – even if it is not blocking your front-facing view – can cause both damage to the windshield and blind spots when at an intersection or similar area. Some people keep de-icer on hand to make the process easier, but for most, a plastic scraper and cloth is enough to ensure the removal of snow, ice, sleet and other winter precipitation. *reference from http://discountautoglassmemphis.net
Keep Away from Other Cars
When winter weather is afoot – or even just cold temperatures – various elements of your automobile can be slower to respond. Particularly once you first hit the road, a car that has only been running for a couple of minutes may have slower braking time. If you couple this with slick spots on the road, you may suddenly wind up in the back-end of another person’s automobile. In winter weather, you want to leave approximately thirty feet of space between you and the car in front of you for every 10 miles per hour of speed. If you are traveling 40 miles per hour, for instance, then you want to be at least 120 feet behind the nearest vehicle.
Warm Up Your Car
Before you hit the roads or remove ice from your windshield, you want to first warm up your vehicle. Ice that is clinging to the windshield can actually cause damage to it if removed at below freezing and with ample force, so it is a great idea to warm your car up and aim the defrosters at the windshield. This will help warm the surface of the windshield and loosen up that stubborn ice in advance. You can also damage your car by operating it normally from a cold start; instead, allow the car to run for five to ten minutes before leaving your home or work. This will ensure that all components are properly warmed up and therefore subject to less strain. This can also make your brakes more responsive and your fuel economy more efficient overall.
Before you head out this winter and in winters to come, be sure to write down and memorize these tips for safe driving. You do not want to follow other vehicles too closely when there is precipitation on the roads or in the air, but you do want to be sure to use your brakes sparingly. Always warm up your car before removing ice or leaving the house when it is cold, which will prevent damage to the windshield and additional wear on your vehicle. Also, never be too confident in your driving habits: this is perhaps the biggest reason why people have winter-related accidents in the first place!