Nov 04

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Winter Weather Driving Tips

Most people are not formally trained on how to drive in hazardous weather conditions. Many people become very nervous and then confusion prevails. Here are some driving tips to help you steer clear of trouble when driving in heavy rain, sleet, snow or ice.

SLOW DOWN – It does not matter what type of vehicle you are driving, when driving in hazardous weather slowing down gives you a few more seconds to react when trouble occurs.

LOOK AHEAD – Watch ahead for possible trouble spots. Looking ahead gives you a few more seconds to react which can be the difference in almost being in an accident and actually having one.

WIPERS ON, LIGHTS ON – Whenever daytime visibility is less than ideal, turning on your lights allows you to see, and to be seen by others. Remember this rule of thumb: wipers on, lights on. Also remember cars equipped with daytime running lights still need to turn their lights on. Daytime running lights are only a low headlight, your tail lights are not on at all. When traveling in snowy weather, remember to clear tail lights, signal lights, and headlamps regularly.

DON’T OVER ESTIMATE – The capability of four-wheel-drive vehicles is greater than other vehicles, but not limitless. Many drivers mistakenly believe that four-wheel drive is all powerful. Every type of vehicle depends on four small contact patches where the tire meets the road for traction. This small contact area is the limiting factor of any vehicle on a slippery surface. Four-wheel drive does not improve braking or cornering effectiveness.

DON’T OVER REACT – Many people believe that quick reactions make a good driver. The world’s best drivers are trained to anticipate f problems early and direct the vehicle appropriately before they become involved in a problem. Reacting too quickly can be dangerous if the driver’s response is inappropriate.

KEEP MOMENTUM – Gain speed and momentum on the flat before starting uphill. When the car begins to slow down going up the hill, ease up on the accelerator, allow the car to slow down and crest the hill slowly. If you try and accelerate too hard and spin the wheels, you may lose momentum and not make the top. It’s better to make the top at a slower speed than to not make it at all.

MOST IMPORTANTLY – If you don’t have to go out don’t. It is always best to refrain from driving in hazardous weather. If it is absolutely necessary for you to leave try to wait until road crews have cleared the roads. Main roadways are usually cleared quickly, so you shouldn’t have to wait long. Remember just because the road has been cleared and salted doesn’t mean there are not still slick spots on the roadway.

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