Winter conditions pose challenges for even the most experienced drivers. Heavy snowfall can significantly impair visibility, and icy road surfaces can cause your vehicle to slip and slide without any notice. Regardless of whether you have AWD, snow tires, and chains, experts agree that the best way to remain safe while driving during the winter is to practice and prepare. The following tips will help you stay as safe as possible on the mountain roads as the temperatures start to drop this winter.
Take the Time to Clear Off Your Vehicle
When you wake up in the morning, the last thing you want to do is go outside in the cold and spend time removing snow from your windows, hood, and roof, or to scrape ice from the windows. This, however, is one of the most important things you can do prior to getting behind the wheel during the winter months. Removing anything that could potentially impair your visibility will allow you to maneuver more safely.
Make Sure Your Tires are in Shape
Before the winter weather hits, we recommend that you take the time to have your tires checked for proper treading and traction. Throughout the season, you should make it a point to regularly check tire pressure to ensure that all four wheels are properly inflated.
Keep Things Smooth
During the winter, it’s never a good idea to make sudden moves on the snow and ice. It’s a lot easier for tires to lose their grip on slippery surfaces, so you need to smooth out your driving style. It’s smart to imagine that you’re driving with a cup of coffee sitting on your dashboard, operating the vehicle in such a way that you won’t spill any.
Know the Limits of AWD
Just because your automobile is equipped with All Wheel Drive doesn’t mean that your vehicle isn’t prone to slipping and sliding. Be aware of the fact that both AWD and Four Wheel Drive systems are only able to offer extra traction when the vehicle is accelerating – not when braking.
Steer Into a Slide
In the event that your vehicle’s rear begins to slide during a turn, you should gently ease up on the accelerator while turning the steering wheel in the direction of the slide. Taking these steps will help to straighten your vehicle out. In situations where your car is sliding straight as you attempt to make a turn, you should avoid trying to keep turning the wheel. Instead, you should lift up on the accelerator and straighten out the wheel. This will allow your tires the opportunity to regain their grip on the ground.
Let Snow Plows Do Their Job
When you’re in a hurry, it can be tempting to try to drive around snow plows and pass them. Remember, though, that the snow plows are working to clear away hazardous conditions, and driving around them could put you into a dangerous situation. Because plows are so large, you might also fail to see oncoming traffic when attempting to pass, thus causing an accident. Finally, you should avoid following too closely behind a snow plow, as this could cause loose pebbles or gravel to fly up and crack your windshield. The best course of action is to just be patient and let the plows do their work from a reasonable distance.
Whenever you’re driving during the winter, you should always be prepared for anything. In the event that you become stuck in a snowbank, have to pull off on the road and wait for assistance, or are involved in an accident, you will need certain supplies on hand. Always have a charged cellphone available. In addition to this, keep a blanket and supply of food and water supply in your car. It’s also wise to have a flashlight, road flares, and a first aid kit in your vehicle.
In the event that you or a loved one are in an accident related to winter driving conditions, it’s important to seek legal counsel right away. The experts at Mintz Law Firm are ready to help you fight your case. Give us a call for a free case evaluation today.