winter, ice, snow, driving in winter, slippery roads

How to Drive Safely in the Winter

Posted at Wed, Feb 17, 2021 1:15 PM

Before winter came we went through what you can do to help prepare your vehicle for these colder, more slippery months, now it’s here and with the storms we’ve gotten both here in New England and around the country, it’s shaping up to be an eventful year, especially for motorists. In this article we’ll touch base on a few different things you should keep in mind when getting ready to head out on those brisk, cold, and downright freezing winter mornings us in New England are all too familiar with, to help you stay best ready to tackle those wintery drives with more confidence.

With advancements in drivetrains and the computers in vehicles with systems like traction control and Automatic breaking systems, which you’ll find in every vehicle from 2012 onward, many have developed a sense of greater security, and we’re sure many of us have seen someone in a big SUV or truck plowing through a snow storm going just a bit too fast. While All Wheel Drive can help with driving on slippery surfaces, it’s not absolute. And it certainly won’t help with going into turns at too high of speed when your tires already have a tentative grip on snowy or ice-slick roads. Make sure to slow down before you turn, not in them, sometimes though, we forget or the wheels slip anyways, what then?

With slush, snow, and ice, your tires have a harder time maintaining their grip on the road, especially when you go into turns, or if your speed is a bit too high. So, you’re driving and your goes off course. Whether if it’s your front or your rear tires, if you’re not going to immediately hit something, don’t slam on your breaks, this will work against you. Should your rear wheels start to slip, take your foot off the accelerator, and steer IN TO the direction the rear of your vehicle is moving with the slide. If the rear of your car is going left, turn the wheel left, once you regain traction slowly begin to bring the wheel back to center. Should your front tires be the ones that slip, again take your foot off the gas, wait until you can feel the vehicle regaining traction, and make sure to aim the wheel where you want to go.

You can tackle skids, what happens if you need to step on the breaks fast? Vehicles produced in 2012 and newer come equipped with ABS, this aids in your breaking when you need to stop fast. With most vehicles you’re going to feel a shudder when you do slam down on your breaks, this is the ABS kicking in, it shows that its working, realistically your first reaction might be to pull your foot off the break, don’t do that. When driving in winter weather, to avoid needing the ABS to kick in, keep a longer following distance from the vehicle in front of you, especially on the highway. While in optimal conditions, like a warm summer day, you can get away with a 3-4 second stopping time between you and the vehicle in front of you, you’ll want to stretch that to 8-10 seconds just when the road is wet to give your breaks and tires the chance to catch up on the slicker surface, for snow you’ll want triple the stopping distance and for ice you’ll want even more.

Overall, while driving during the winter presents its unique concerns and challenges when compared to the warmer months, unless there’s a snow storm currently happening, you should be alright to get on the road. Remember, avoid jerky movements, don’t accelerate too fast, avoid breaking too fast, and keep an eye on where you want to go. The best advice one can give for driving in slush, snow, and ice, is to stay slow and stay alert.

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The information in the article above was collected from a variety of sources regarding best practices for driving in winter weather. Consumers should avoid driving in adverse weather conditions. This article is meant solely to cover the basics of what could be done to drive in a safe manner in adverse winter weather, it should not be used as a sole guide in this matter. North End Motors Inc. is not to be held liable should the above information be used in any way other than for what it is intended to be, a cursory overview of the topic.

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