Last updated on December 4, 2017 at 12:21 pm
To help drivers confront winter weather, Plymouth Rock Assurance has put together 10 safety tips for driving in snow and ice. Of course, the best tip is to avoid driving in hazardous and wintry conditions. However, since that option may not be available to everyone, we urge everyone to exercise caution when operating a vehicle on the snow and ice. Use these tips and tactics below to help keep you and your loved ones safe.
- Clear Your Car: If you need to head out, make sure to remove all of the snow and ice from the exterior of your car. In some states, it’s the law.
- Slow Down: We can’t urge this simple tactic enough. Reducing your speed and allowing extra time for your trip will keep you safe and reduce stress during your trip.
- Brake Lightly: To avoid skidding or having your brakes lock up when stopping or slowing your vehicle, apply light pressure to the brakes. Also leave plenty of space between you and the car in front—we recommend nearly 3x the normal space you would leave in dry conditions.
- Clear Vision: Make sure all windows and mirrors are clean and clear. Visibility is essential when driving in dangerous conditions. Also make sure your car has plenty of washer fluid and your wiper blades are functioning properly.
- Don’t Be Fooled: Your car may have all-wheel drive (AWD) or electronic stability control (ESC), but these technological advances do not mean your car is impervious to spin outs or skids. Do not be lulled into a false sense of security. You are still vulnerable to the same hazards as all other drivers.
- Stay Calm: Make sure to avoid any sudden adjustments to your driving style, including braking, accelerating, or grabbing the wheel. Your car has only so much grip on the road, and these movements make that grip more difficult. A steady, even pace with smooth movements will help keep you safe.
- No Cruising: Avoid using your cruise control settings during poor conditions.
- Be a Light Foot: In slippery conditions, accelerate slowly to avoid rear wheel spin when starting from a fixed position. If you do feel your wheels spinning and searching for traction, DO NOT press down harder on the accelerator. Instead, gently back off the gas, wait for the wheel to find grip, and then gently reapply to begin moving forward.
- Stay Focused: This goes without saying, but is especially important during hazardous conditions. Remember that “black ice” may appear as a puddle or simply look like wet or a darker patch of asphalt.
- Don’t Panic In A Skid: If you find your car in a slide or skid, DO NOT slam on the brakes or quickly jerk the wheel. Instead, reduce your acceleration and place the car into neutral. As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and create traction. Once traction has returned, point the wheels in the desired direction, return the automobile to drive, and accelerate gently.
Again, we highly recommend staying off the roads during hazardous driving situations. If you must go out, leave plenty of extra time, exercise caution, and bring plenty of patience. For additional information check out our winter storm safety tips.