Of course the best advice you can get when it comes to driving in bad weather is “don’t,” but we here at UsedCars.com know just how impossible that can be a lot of the time.
To help you keep safe on the road during this most treacherous time of the year, we’ve created this easy-to-follow checklist that will help you navigate those slippery, icy and snowy roads out there.
Know What You’re Driving
Is your car two-wheel or four wheel drive? Does it have antilock brakes, traction control or stability control? Do you have a set of winter tires or are they all-weather tires? Each of these features can directly impact how your car handles on the ice and the snow. To get a feel for how these features interact with each other, take the time to practice driving in an empty, but snowy, parking lot.
Make Room For Other Drivers
Believe it or not, the time period between November and March is one of the busiest highway travel seasons of the year. To avoid rear-ending others on these crowded highways, be sure to leave three times the normal space between you and the car in front of you.
Add Some Weight
Is your car rear wheel drive? Then those rear tires may need a little help maintaining their grip. Consider adding extra weight behind the rear axle (the rear axle is the rod that runs between your rear tires). This added weight will help to keep those tires on the pavement, which will increase traction. If you are not sure what to use as weight, 20lbs bags of sand are an inexpensive option.
Beware Of Black Ice
Black ice get its name because it blends in with the black asphalt of the road, making it next to impossible to spot. The best advice is to never feel overconfident on a road the looks perfectly clear. And remember, if a road looks wet or slick, there is a good chance that black ice is present.
It takes time to stop when the road is icy, and if you end up slamming on your brakes, chances are you will go skidding out of control.
Don’t Brake When Skidding
If you do start to skid, fight the temptation of slamming on your brakes. This will only make things worse. Instead, take your foot off of the accelerator. If braking becomes necessary, you can try slightly pumping your brakes – Never slam them.
Steer Into The Skid
This can be a hard concept to understand, as it often goes against natural instinct. To better understand this concept, imagine that during the skid, your rear tires are trying to move ahead of your front tires. Your goal should be to prevent this from happening.
Please, refer back to this list whenever you need a refresher course on safe winter driving – and remember, one of the best tips is to go slow and take your time.