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Driving In Winter Weather Conditions

When it comes to driving in winter conditions, the best advice you can get is “don’t”. Stay inside where it is warm and safe until conditions are favorable for driving again. We also realize that this is not always possible. Sometimes driving through the snow and ice is unavoidable. The key in these instances is to be as safe as possible, and with that in mind, we have come up with a few things (actually a lot of things) designed to keep you and your family safe while traversing dangerous conditions.

If you have to go out under these conditions, make sure that your car is properly prepared with the necessary safety equipment, snow tires or chains, and that you know how to handle adverse weather scenarios.

Driving on icy roads is well nigh impossible, but again if you must, decrease your speed and allow plenty of room to stop. We’re talking at least three times the amount of space or distance that it usually takes to perform any maneuvers or stopping.  Brake gently to avoid skidding, and if your wheels lock up then ease up off the brake.  Turning on your lights will increase your visibility to other motorists.

Keep your lights and windshield clean, and use the lower gears in order to maintain traction, especially on hills. Do not engage the cruise control or overdrive while on icy roads.  Remember that bridges will ice much faster than other areas, so exercise extreme caution when navigating across them.

Do not attempt to pass snow plows or sanding trucks, as these drivers have limited visibility and the road ahead of them may be in far worse condition than the one behind. Remember that even four wheel drive and front wheel drive vehicles have trouble on ice.

If your rear wheels begin to skid, ease off the accelerator and steer in the direction that you want the front wheels to go. If you have standard breaks, gently pump them to regain some traction. ABS brakes should be steadily applied for the same result.  When front wheels skid, take your foot off the gas, but do not attempt to steer. As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle on their own and traction will return.

If you get stuck, resist the urge to spin your wheels. This doesn’t work in the movies and real life is no better. Instead, turn your wheels from side to side to push snow out of the way, and then use a light touch on the gas to ease the car out. You can pour sand or kitty litter in the path of the wheels to help gain traction, and you can gently rock the vehicle to get it to move ever so slowly and gently.

Remember that winter conditions can be deadly, and the last thing you want is to get stranded in your vehicle. If at all possible, stay home and wait for conditions to improve.

Restoration Local is one of the leading providers of winter weather and flood restoration in the United States.

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