7 Safety Tips When Driving During Inclement Weather

7 Safety Tips When Driving During Inclement Weather

Winter is officially here.  Darkness sets in sooner and the nights are chilly.  After witnessing the frenzy of commuters trying to get home before the snowfall and the numerous accidents on the road, we thought it would be a good time to remind folks of ways to safely maneuver your vehicles under these conditions.  As we know, weather can be unpredictable and outright brutal.  If it is inclement outside and you don’t need to travel anywhere, we suggest…don’t go out.  Even if you know how to drive properly in the snow or sleet, realize that not everybody can.  On the off chance that you do need to travel, here are some safety tips:

  1. Drive slowly.  Every maneuver you make in your vehicle will take longer on snow-covered roads. Whether it be stopping, turning, or accelerating– nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slow.
  2. Accelerate and decelerate slowly.  Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Slow down in advance for a stoplight as it takes longer to slow down in icy conditions.
  3. Keep your distance.  Following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds between vehicles.  Increase your safety margin.
  4. Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is “threshold” breaking. Threshold braking is keeping the heel of your foot on the floor while using the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
  5. Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  6. Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible.
  7. Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.

We hope these driving safety tips will be useful to you when you do have to go out in wintry conditions.  Safe driving!