How To Drive In Wintery Conditions?

Do you take extra precaution while driving in wintery conditions?  Are you a careless driver?  Well don’t be.  Because you and your family’s safety while driving in wintery conditions depends on how you control your vehicle.  Here is the continuation, Part 3, of the tips on preparing yourself and your car for the cold facts of winter travel.

Remain in control of your vehicle

  • Be sure everyone buckles up and remains buckled at all times.
  • Don’t speed.  Posted speed limits are set for ideal travel conditions; in winter, reduce your speed to avoid skids from “black ice” and other hazards.

NOTE:  Black ice makes road look like new, shiny asphalt.

  • Avoid using cruise control so you remain in full control of your vehicle.
  • Use low-beam headlights, even if you have daytime running lights.  Low beams will make your vehicle more visible because the taillights will be on.
  • Increase your following distance behind the vehicle ahead of you.

NOTE:  Stopping distance on ice roads is double that of stopping on dry ones.

  • Stay in the right-hand lane except when passing.  Be patient and pass only when it’s safe to do so.
  • Always use your turn signals when changing lanes.
  • Avoid skidding:

-Steer with smooth, precise movements

-Change lanes gradually and avoid braking or accelerating quickly

  • Slow down when approaching steel and concrete bridges, as their  surfaces are more likely to be icy.
  • If the weather seems to be worsening, consider pulling off the road to avoid being stranded.
  • Brake wisely if you face an emergency braking situation:

-If you have anti-lock brakes, keep your heel on the floor and use your toes to press the brake pedal firmly until the vehicle comes to a complete stop.  Do not pump the brake pedal.

If you do not have anti-lock brakes, use the same heel/toe technique but do not pump the pedal until you come to a stop.

To be continued…

Germania Today, Winter 2011