Driving in harsh weather conditions can be both dangerous and frightening for travelers. Bad road conditions, severe weather, and winter storms are major components in almost half a million car accidents and over 2000 traffic deaths each winter, according to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research.
Drivers should know and heed the following three main safety points for winter driving to help get a grip when dealing with slippery roads.
1. Drive Slow.
When driving In snow or icy conditions and getting close to a sharp bend or turn in the road, GENTLY press your brakes BEFORE you start to turn. Then lift your foot off the brake and drift through the corner while turning your steering wheel. Only after you have straightened your car should you gently accelerate. Driving slow gives you time to respond calmly to the slippery conditions.
2. Stay Calm.
If your vehicle begins sliding, keep control by staying calm. If your vehicle begins to fishtail (rear sways out), LIGHTLY accelerate to straighten out. If you begin sliding forward, straighten the wheel and LIGHTLY apply the brakes. Whenever you are driving in snow or slippery conditions, using gentleness in your maneuvers is the most effective way to handle your car rather than forcefully using the gas, brakes or steering wheel.
3. Maintain Your Car.
No matter what season it is, keeping your car maintained is key to safe driving. This is especially true for winter conditions. Know the conditions of your vehicle. Check the tire inflation and tread, battery, antifreeze, wipers and put no-freeze wiper fluid in the reservoir. Be familiar with the limitations and capabilities of your car so you don’t get surprised and can respond appropriately if a slide or spinout happens. Even traction control or anti-lock brakes cannot always keep a vehicle from sliding on a slick road. Always travel a safe distance from a car in front of your and a safe speed for current conditions.
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