If you’re like most people, despite wintery conditions, you still have places to be and people to see. Although snowy weather can be a beautiful sight to see, it can also be frightful if it turns into an icy mix – making for difficult travel conditions.
If possible, don’t drive
There’s only one guaranteed way to ensure that you avoid an accident in icy roads: don’t drive. More employers today allow staff to work from home. If your job allows for this, take advantage of it to err on the side of caution.
Pay attention to weather and traffic reports
If snow is in the forecast, your local news station will be sure to have all the details on what to expect. In addition, they’ll likely report on how driving conditions are, especially if they’re icy. Try to get into the habit of watching the morning or evening news in your area to see how things are moving along and if there are any traffic safety advisories.
Purchase a quality set of winter tires
If there’s one thing you do this year to prepare for driving in slippery conditions, make it buying a set of winter tires. Interestingly, only 1 in 4 motorists, on average, install winter tires on their vehicles each season, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association. Winter tires are custom designed to grip the road, thanks to their deep grooves and high quality material. Your local mechanic can help you out with a set of four, just be sure that the grooves are a minimum of 6/32-inches deep.
Be extra cautious driving over bridges
When the road goes over a body of water, the added moisture makes conditions even more slippery than normal strips of roadway. Thus, ice usually forms here before other spots. But bridges aren’t the only places that get icy quickly. Overpasses do as well because they’re exposed to air on all surfaces. With this in mind, be sure to reduce your speed before traveling on streets that pass over water or roadway.
Keep on rolling
Thanks to the help of road crews, salt and sand provides added traction to start and stop as effectively as possible. However, coming to a complete stop can be tricky when you’re approaching a set of lights. If you can, ease off the gas well in advance of coming to the intersection. By the time you get there, the red light may be green, allowing you to continue without having to apply the brakes hard, which can increase the risk of going off the road.
Don’t confuse AWD with ABS
All-wheel drive is an added feature that an increasing number of vehicles come standard with. AWD makes it easier to accelerate from a standing position, especially on slippery road surfaces. What people often mistake AWD with is being effective at braking, preventing the brake pads from locking. Be careful not to confuse AWD with anti-lock brakes. AWD is good for acceleration, ABS is effective for braking.
Steer in direction of skid
Even when you’ve taken all the precautions, there’s still a chance you may enter a skid when traveling. The natural instinct is to steer in the opposite direction that you’re sliding in. This will actually making things worse, potentially sending the car into a tailspin. Instead, steer in the same direction of the skid. The tires will find their bearings, allowing you to course correct.
Don’t let a winter storm get you down. So long as you’re prepared, cold weather doesn’t have to put a freeze on your driving schedule.