3 Tips for Safer Winter Driving
Driving in the winter requires more skill than in the summer when the roads are dry. Here are some tips for surviving snow and ice and staying safe.
1. Survive Skids on Snow and Ice:
If you realize that you are skidding:
- Don't panic, and don't put your foot on the brakes.
- Take your foot off the accelerator and point the steering wheel in the direction you are sliding.
- If you must brake, apply constant but gentle pressure. Do not pump them or let them get blocked.
- The brakes might make noise, but you need to regain control in less than two.
2. Keep Calm if you get Stuck:
If you're stuck, use these tips from the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety:
- Avoid physical exertion and overexposure to cold.
- If you are unable to clear your vehicle from snow or are in blizzard conditions, stay in the car.
- Do not get out of your car unless you see help within about 90 meters.
- Turn on the turn signals or flares. In broad daylight, attach a brightly colored cloth to the antenna to make your car more visible.
- Run the engine for about 10 minutes every hour to generate heat without burning too much fuel. To be on the safe side, make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked by snow and open a window on the side away from the direction of the wind.
- Wrap yourself in a blanket. Sharing it with another person provides you with extra warmth.
- Don't fall asleep if you are alone. To sleep, take turns with another person who may be in the car.
3. Prepare a Road Emergency Kit:
Here are the items that can get you out of most road problems. Keep them in your trunk or glove box so they are always close at hand:
- A first aid kit
- Rockets or emergency lights
- Jumper cables
- Paper towels
- Flashlight, portable flashing lights, and extra batteries
- Energy bars or other non-perishable foods
- Of drinking water
- Emergency matches and candles
- A brightly colored flag, banner, or sign calling for help.
In winter, add these:
- Non-clumping cat litter, sand, or salt (to provide more traction in snow
- A snow shovel
- A windshield scraper or brush
- Extra warm clothes and shoes, jackets, hats, and gloves
- Windshield washer fluid or de-icing fluid
- Antifreeze for the fuel line.
When driving in the winter, safety is paramount. Always take your time and give yourself plenty of room to maneuver on the road. And if you find yourself in an emergency, being prepared is your best line of defense.