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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Safe Winter Driving

Driving in bad weather conditions can test even the best of drivers, so here are a few tidbits to know about to learn how to handles these driving conditions:

Quit while you’re ahead! If you do not need to go out, don’t! Every time you drive in bad weather is risky, no matter how safe or equipped you think your car is. The number one advice for professionals is avoid driving in this weather at all costs.

If you do need to go out however, like to go to work, go to the grocery store, or pick up the kids from school, make sure to be safe.

Practice, practice, practice! If you are new to driving or new to an area of the country plagued with weather unconducive for driving, make sure to test out your car’s handling capabilities in an open parking lot where you can really figure out how your car will drive in bad conditions, and you can practice driving in these conditions with more confidence.

Is the road clear? If the snow plow has not come by yet, try not to go out, even if you think the snow or ice is not thick enough. Less than a centimeter of ice can send you flying off the road and into the hospital or a repair shop. Always wait for them to clear the road and salt your driveway as often as you can.

Give yourself more time. Give yourself more time with almost everything in these dire conditions. Do not drive too fast, and give yourself time to stop because the loss of traction you will get. Also, give yourself more time to get from A to B, because you do not want to speeding or freaking out while driving in these conditions, because it can be extremely dangerous. The general rule is leaving three times more space and time driving in winter weather.

Helpful Hints:
-Don’t use cruise control, especially on icy roads.
-Be more cautious on bridges and overpasses since these will freeze faster than the rest of the road.
-Put your lights on at all time, and keep them and your windshield clean to not risk reducing your visibility any more.
-Even all-wheel drive vehicles are not fully able to deal with this sort of weather, so do not assume that you can drive faster or your car will be safer.
-If you are stuck on the side of the road, do not keep spinning your wheels. Instead, spread gravel, kitty litter, sand, or salt under your tires to gain traction to get out.
-Notice how there are already tire marks in the snow from previous cars? Survivalists suggest not following the track and instead straddling them, because snow being driven over again and again will turn to black ice and it will be like driving on a frozen over lake.
-When driving uphill, all of these are even more important, because the grade will reduce tractions and increase gravity, which is exactly what will lead to a car sliding down the hill.

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