Whether you’re a grizzled New Englander or just visiting your in-laws on a Christmas appeasement trip, chances are high that you’ll hit some snowy weather along the way. And, if you do, it probably won’t be the high point of your trip because we all know that snow, ice and arctic winds will do their best to get you into a car accident.
However, you can fight back. You can throw your natural abundance of common sense at this situation and come out the victor. In this article, we will quickly review this “common sense” just so you have it fresh and ready to go before your trip. Some of tips below are almost clichés but often the greatest truths are found in clichés, especially when it comes to safety issues.
When the weather is warm and dry you drive at a reasonable speed (hopefully.) This applies to your your acceleration, your deceleration and your cornering speed. When old man winter hits, though, here’s a tip: slow it all down. Faster changes of pace can cause you to lose traction in wintery weather and you know the consequences. Take it from Jones Chrysler of Bel Air, a Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram of Bel Air, MD, play it safe and slow it down when its slippery outside!
Braking when it’s slippery
Understanding the distance required to stop a vehicle when roads are slippery or icy, is an invaluable driving insight. If you feel that your car is beginning to slide, “feather” the brakes with quick taps on the brake pedal. Chances are that your Automatic Braking System (ABS) will kick in too and the both of you (You and your ABS) can bring the vehicle back into control.
Double the distance
With the increased time necessary for breaking, you should shift your default car-to-car distance to,, at least, double the recommended 2 to 3 seconds. It’s really simple why you do this: If you are tailgating someone when the driving is slick and if they jam on the brakes, you may not have the reaction time to do the same. The result: a crunching slam and then a visit by some nice local law enforcement authorities.
Everyone knows that at some point you are going to be out on the road when conditions are poor. Our advice is to plan ahead just in case something happens. Make sure your car is stocked with emergency winter items such as blankets, water, a shovel, a flashlight, jumper cables, etc.). Also, check your tire’s air pressure, make sure that your engines anti-freeze level is okay and have plenty of windshield fluid on-board.
As much as four-wheel and all-wheel drive cars do have an advantage over two-wheel drive vehicles in the snow, there seems to be a disconnect when some people drive them. Yes, AWD and 4×4 drive vehicles are fantastic when driving during winter conditions but you know what they aren’t fantastic at: Braking. AWD and 4×4 drive are no better than any other car on the road when it comes time to stop the vehicle.
Get winter tires
The message is in the title. While the tire manufacturers make great all-season tires, you really can’t beat real winter tires when driving on the snow and ice. The secret sauce is the compound the tire manufacturers use to make winter tires. Winter tires are made of a special rubber that remains “sticky” when it’s really cold out. Mate that with deep, aggressive tread patterns and you’ve got some serious winter driving capacity.