Winter weather can throw all sorts of obstacles in your way. Snow, slush, and ice are all dangerous additions to roadways this time of year. Knowing how to drive in winter conditions is essential to keeping you safe when you get behind the wheel. It is important that you prepare your car for winter driving, too, and that you take measures to drive a bit more cautiously. Here's a look at some winter driving tips to help keep you safe on the roads.
Get To Know Your Vehicle
If you have not been driving the same vehicle for years through winter weather, then take some time to get it to know how it handles. A great idea is to go to an empty parking lot and practice stopping, accelerating, and turning. Get a feel for how your vehicle handles the adverse conditions. You can also practice tips for driving in snow, such as steering out of a skid and stopping properly.
When you are rushing around or unsure of where you are going, it can lead to driving habits that are dangerous on slick roadways. To avoid such risks, you should always plan ahead. Make sure you know the route you are taking, and get familiar with the area. Plan out your drive time so you have plenty of time to get there. Make sure to account for delays and traffic issues. If it is especially bad out, make sure someone else knows where you are going, when you are leaving, and when you should reach your destination, making sure you contact the person when you leave and after you arrive. If you break down or end up stranded, this person will know to look for you.
Warm Up Your Vehicle
Before you take off, you need to get your vehicle ready. This involves warming it up and removing all snow and ice. You should never run a vehicle in a garage, even if the door is open, because deadly carbon monoxide can still build up.
Do Not Use Cruise Control
When you are driving on wet roadways, forego using cruise control. This system relies on information from your tires to maintain speed, and on wet roads, this information can be altered. This can lead to the car suddenly speeding up or slowing down, which can cause you to skid.
You should use lower speeds on snowy or icy roads. Make sure you proceed slowly until you can be sure the road is not slick or until you can adjust to a speed where you feel safe. Allow more distance between other vehicles, too. You will need to take more time to get places in the winter, but lowering your speed is the best way to stay safe. You should also make sure you accelerate slowly and brake slowly. Sudden stopping and going can lead to a loss of traction.
Practice Safe Driving on Hills
Hills can be a challenge in winter. They already mess with your vehicle due to gravity, but adding in slick roads increases the issues. You should approach hills carefully. Never accelerate when going up a hill, because it can cause your tires to spin. If you must accelerate, do so slowly so you can maintain control over your vehicle. When going down a hill, avoid pressing the brake. If you must use the brake, apply it lightly. If possible, avoid steep hills when roadways are bad.
Get Your Car in Good Shape
The final thing you should do when it comes to winter driving safety is make sure your car is ready to handle the conditions. You may consider adding chains or snow tires, you may need new tires altogether. Tires in poor condition can very much affect the way your vehicle handles. Always make sure they are properly inflated and that the tread is not worn before winter.
Finally, you should also have your vehicle serviced before the winter arrives. We can inspect your vehicle at any Sun Auto Service to ensure it is running properly and that all systems are working correctly. Ensure your vehicle is ready for the cold by bringing it in to any nearby Sun Auto Service.