Winter Weather driving is different
If any Arizonians are traveling to the snow for the weekend or Christmas, here are some great and helpful tips to keep you and the family safe. And if you’re used to the snowy weather, comment below with your safety tips! Blustering snow, low perceptibility, and freezing conditions. Winter calls on drivers to use the expertise that just isn’t needed during the course of the year. So, brush up on yours with these strategies and guidelines. Because, even if you’re an expert winter driver, plenty of other people out there are not.
Don’t just jump in the car and go.
First things first, make sure you and your car are ready for the circumstances ahead. You should be well-rested and attentive. Your car (preferably front-wheel or four-wheel drive) should have a full tank of gas, working windshield wipers, the right tires, and the necessary emergency supplies. Completely clean off and defrost the windshield and windows, turn on your lights for visibility and buckle up.
To start, stop, and steer steadily.
Flooring it, banging on the brakes, and jolting the steering wheel wildly can all lead to trouble. Instead, do everything progressively. Increase speed slowly so your wheels don’t spin out. Brake early and gently to maintain control of the vehicle. Finally, make slow, reasonable changes to the steering wheel when you need to change lanes or make a turn.
Don’t use cruise control.
Even if your car is skidding, your cruise control may endeavor to continue a constant speed, possibly quickening the vehicle and spinning the wheels as you’re trying to regain control. Hitting the brakes to disengage the cruise control could cause further harm.
Do let off the accelerator if your car starts to skid.
We know it’s easy to panic, but try to remain calm and, once you feel your tires regain traction, slowly turn the steering wheel in the direction you want the front of your vehicle to go. Be ready to counter-steer and stay off both the gas and the brake until you have control of the vehicle again.
Don’t follow too closely.
Increase the space you leave between you and other vehicles both when following another car and pulling over in front of one after passing it, particularly snowplows or large trucks. You also need more lead time when pulling out in front of a car.
Do consider the terrain.
When driving in winter weather, certain areas signal the need for greater caution. These include bridges and overpasses, which can freeze over before other parts of the road, freeway on- and off-ramps that snowplows may have missed, and any area that doesn’t receive direct sunlight and may have black ice.
Above all, think of the most basic principle of driving in any type of extreme weather: Give yourself ample time to respond. So, slow down. Or, just stay home, if you can. Because, even with careful driving and these tips, something could still happen. And, staying home sure beats being stuck in a snowy ditch!