No matter the season, it’s prudent to practice safe driving. This is especially important during the winter months, as driving can be a treacherous and dangerous activity in wintry conditions. If you see that snow or ice is expected on the roads, it is best to delay your trip to avoid potential accidents. Even if you’re a safe driver, seasonal weather is unpredictable and can lead to unexpected driving behavior.
From snow to sleet, it’s a good idea to prepare your car and yourself for driving. Having an emergency kit in your car containing these common winter driving supplies will come in handy in the event your car breaks down or you’re stranded:
- Snow shovel, broom and ice scraper
- Jumper cables, flashlight and blankets
- Abrasive material, such as sand or kitty litter, in case your car gets stuck in the snow
Should you need to travel when there is snow or ice on the roads, keep these driving tips in mind:
Do not use cruise control. When driving on any slippery surface, such as on ice and snow, it’s prudent to know your car’s braking and accelerating abilities. Being in control of your speed will ensure you are able to react to any potential drifts and skids.
Drive slowly. Slow down to account for lower traction when driving on snow or ice. Remember, it takes longer to slow down on icy roads so be careful when accelerating and decelerating. Take your time when pressing the gas to regain traction and avoid skids.
Increase your following distance. Keep your distance between eight to ten seconds to provide a longer cushion of distance between you and other cars, in case you need to abruptly stop.
Don’t power up hills. Putting too much pressure on the gas while going uphill will just make your wheels spin. Avoid stopping on a hill and potentially sliding backward by getting a little inertia going before you reach the hill and letting that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill slowly.