We all think we are pro drivers until harsh weather settles in. Winter weather creates the toughest driving conditions, causing even the most experienced drivers to get in accidents. Although accidents happen, there are a few things you can do to avoid them when the harsh elements settle in.
In today’s society, going slow at any time while driving is almost painful. We are always trying to get where we are going as fast as possible. Unfortunately, winter weather is not the time to do this. Every move you make needs to be done slowly, as snow or ice covered services don’t provide you with the traction to go faster. Go slowly around corners, down hills, and even on interstates and highways.
Don’t Take Off
Accelerating or braking quickly is a bad idea in harsh conditions. Hitting the gas too quickly may cause you to spin out or veer in the wrong direction, potentially causing an accident. When stopping on slippery surfaces, the brakes don’t work as effectively. Start applying the brakes long before you normally would to ensure that you come to a stop in time.
This may sound like a bad joke, but if you can, avoid stopping at all costs. It takes a lot of energy and skill to get your car moving again in slippery conditions once it has come to a complete stop. If you are coming up to a red light, slow way down and try to slowly roll up to the light until it turns green. This keeps you from stopping completely, making it easier for you to get going again. Another note on stopping: never stop going uphill unless you absolutely have to. Nothing is worse than getting stuck going up a hill. Stopping will most likely prevent you from making it up the hill, requiring you to go back down, which is usually a daunting task.
If you are traveling long distances over the winter months in harsh conditions, checking the exhaust is vital. If snow or ice clogs the pipe, carbon monoxide can enter the passenger area of the car, possibly causing carbon monoxide poisoning, which can lead to death. Stop every so often to check the exhaust and clean out any ice or snow build up.
Make sure to take extra caution when driving in winter conditions. No matter how well you know your vehicle, it tends to do crazy things when the wheels touch ice or snow. Practice driving in snowy parking lots or back roads to get a feel for the brakes and traction your vehicle has. There is no such thing as being too prepared!
Written by Marc LaFerriere at Dents Unlimited & Toalson Glass. Marc and his expert staff are one of the leading auto repair shops Columbia, MO has to offer.