If you read and use the following driving tips and advice you will be safer driving when it next snows and every storm after that.
With the northern hemisphere caught in the grip of a severe winter season, it makes sense, even a month-and-a-half into the season, to review some of the basics of safe winter driving:
If a snowstorm or blizzard is forecast stay home and don’t drive. Exercising this commonsense advice is the best way to remain safe and sound when snow is flying. If you are not on the highway with your car then you will remain out of harm’s way, safe and sound.2.
If you have to drive because you are in a key employee of your firm or you have a critical skill that is needed somewhere, find out the latest conditions and route information by watching or listening to the latest information on local weather and traffic information so you can plan the best and safest route.3.
If your vehicle has less than half-a-tank of gas it is a good idea to stop and refill the tank so that you know you won’t be caught in the middle of nowhere with no gas in the tank.4.
While you are stopped, it is a good idea to check the level of windshield washer fluid and refill the reservoir, if necessary. If a storm is bad and traffic is heavy, you can easily use a reservoir-full of windshield washer fluid just driving to your office.5.
Also, take a moment to make sure the windshield is clean inside so you can see clearly ahead and ensure that your car’s windshield wipers are doing their job to ensure your visibility.6.
And, you should make sure your car’s defroster and heater are working correctly. It is also a good idea, while you are stopped, to make sure your car’s headlights, taillights and emergency flashers are working correctly and to replace any bulbs that may be out.7.
Finally, make sure the tires are inflated to the correct pressure.8.
In traffic, it is a good idea to allow a three-second interval between your vehicle and the one immediately in front. To achieve this spacing, look ahead and find a visible landmark at the side of the road that the car ahead and your car will have to pass. When the car ahead of yours passes the landmark, count “one-thousand,” “two-thousand,” “three-thousand” and if your car passes the landmark before you reach three, slow down so at another landmark the car ahead and your car pass after three-thousand.9.
In traffic, slow down and drive only as fast as conditions allow.10.
When your car accelerates, drive as if there is an egg under the accelerator and exaggerate your moves so that you will start slowly and steadily without spinning the wheels and so that your vehicle will remain under control.11.
In braking, press and hold down the brake pedal so that the anti-lock braking system cuts in. Today’s braking system with their split architecture handle press-and-hold braking easily and help cut your stopping distance without skidding.
Marc Stern has spent more than 40 years in and around cars. His work has included answering motorist questions, motor vehicle reviews and evaluation and writing dealers, consumer and industry news pieces. In addition, Mr. Stern has contributed to well-known automotive publications including Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek and Old Cars Weekly, among others.