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Winter brings us many challenges. Frozen pipes, ice dams in the gutter, shoveling snow out of the driveways and sidewalks – not to mention the cold in general. One of the biggest challenges for those of us who live in snowy climates is winter driving. Winter driving requires a lot more finesse and patience than driving during even the worst thunderstorm. Winter car accidents are not uncommon. While some can’t be avoided, in many instances a little knowledge about how a car performs in winter weather conditions can make a difference.
Cars today drive much differently than they did in the past. If you have a newer car, you probably have anti-lock brakes – which means if you’re sliding, your car will recognize this and the brakes will “pump” on their own. You’ll feel it, too. This will help slow down the slide. If you do not have anti-lock brakes, manually (and gently) pump the brake with your foot.
Drive slowly on snow or ice covered roads. Give yourself extra time to stop and leave plenty of room between you and the car in front of you – more than you normally would if road conditions were good. If you do start to slide or skid, steer into it to allow the back end of the car to align with the front.
Remember that 4 wheel drive does not mean you are invincible to snow and ice. 4 wheel drive vehicles are just as susceptible to hitting a nasty patch of ice and sliding off the road as all other vehicles. They tend to have better traction through snow, but there’s really no difference on ice – which is impossible to detect when it lies underneath the snow.
AAA also provides the following tips when driving in winter months:
- Avoid driving while you’re fatigued. Getting the proper amount of rest before taking on winter weather tasks reduces driving risks.
- Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
- Make certain your tires are properly inflated.
- Never mix radial tires with other tire types.
- Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up.
- If possible, avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.
- Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface (wet, ice, sand).
- Always look and steer where you want to go.
- Use your seatbelt every time you get into your vehicle.
Stay safe and remember to contact us for your water damage restoration needs!