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Four Costly Winter Driving Mistakes

By: StaffPublished September 24, 2021

Winter Driving Mistake 1: Driving too fast.

UC Berkley’s Traffic Center also notes that speed is the single greatest cause of serious crashes. But not because drivers fail to obey posted speed limits. Instead, most weather related accidents happen when drivers ignore the deteriorating road conditions and fail to reduce their speed. The takeaway from this is that sometimes driving at the posted speed limit is dangerous. And instead of just driving the recommended speed, you need to take stock of how your car responds to any changing weather patterns. In other words, when snow or ice begins to form on the road, do not feel obligated to continue traveling at high speeds – even if other motorists are zooming on by.

Winter Driving Mistake 2: Assuming four-wheel drive means you can’t crash.

Too many drivers think that four-wheel drive (4WD) makes them invincible. If you need proof of this, then the next time you are out on a wintry day, take stock of the number of four-wheel drive vehicles you see stuck in a ditch. The reason for this seems to be the faulty assumption that the added traction from 4WD means that you can continue to travel at super high speeds.  Unfortunately, 4WD does not improve braking or turning. So while you may be okay traveling in a straight line, what happens when you have to come to a sudden stop? Or make a quick turn?

Winter Driving Mistake 3: Not preparing.

There is a reason why more weather related accidents happen during the first snowy day of the year than at any other time: It’s because drivers simply are not prepared. Whether your tires are not at an adequate tread depth (you should have at least 6/32” of tread for snow and ice), your wipers are worn, or your fluids are low, this lack of preparedness can lead to a serious accident.

Winter Driving Mistake 4: Slamming the brakes.

What is the first thing that happens when most drivers feel their car start to slip? They slam on the brakes. And then what happens next? Their car goes spinning out of control. When you slam on your brakes, you are transferring energy from your tires to your brakes – which in turn will cause your tires to lose traction. To avoid this, your best option is to ease off of the accelerator and let your car slow down on its own. Of course, in some cases, braking may be required. In this event, try quickly pumping your brakes.

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