Driving in snowy conditions can be a very slippery subject. Even seasoned drivers who live in parts of the country with harsh winters can have a hard time driving on snowy surfaces. These less than desirable weather conditions cause slippery roads and are a factor in half a million crashes according to AAA.
While staying at home would be the ideal scenario during these conditions, sometimes staying put is not an option. Thankfully, car technology such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Antilock Braking System (ABS) has been implemented over the years improving vehicle responsiveness and safety. With that technology in mind, here are some helpful tips to make sure you get to your destination safely next time you’re on the road in snowy conditions.
Get the Right Tires
Snow or winter tires will be your best friend when driving in inclement weather. Although not everyone needs winter tires, if you live in an area where snowy surfaces are common it will be your best bet. This is because winter tires are designed to cut through snow and better grip the road. Additionally, the tread is formulated to be softer and grabs the asphalt more effectively in cold weather, according to Wired.
Slow Down and Look Ahead
While this tip can be applied to anytime you’re on the road, it is especially important during snowy conditions. Look ahead to anticipate your next moves and not make sudden, jerky movements, which could make you lose control of your vehicle. According to Car and Driver, you should allow double the stopping distance when the road is wet, triple on snow, and even more on ice.
Make Use of Your ABS System
ABS systems have been included in every car since 2012 and this system will come in handy if you have to brake in snowy or icy conditions. To engage your ABS system all you have to do is press down on the pedal and do not let go. The great thing about this system is that the computer will adjust the braking force at each wheel to allow you to maneuver while simultaneously slowing down.
Do Not Rely On AWD
AWD’s primary role is to provide forward traction. It will not help when it comes to cornering or stopping since deceleration is much more difficult in harsh conditions. This leaves many drivers with a false sense of security thinking their AWD abilities exceed what it can actually accomplish.
Do Not Panic During Skids
Although easier said than done, try not to panic or make any movements that will make you lose further control of your car when skidding. Instead, try to follow these steps from Car and Driver.
For a front-wheel skid, do not hit the brakes, instead, take your foot off the pedals and wait for the front tires to regain traction. Then steer your car in the direction you want to go in.
For a rear-wheel skid, again, do not hit the brakes but quickly steer in the direction your car is sliding too. Do not try to overcorrect and steer in the opposite direction.
Other Helpful Tips
- Keep an emergency kit in your car with essentials (blankets, first aid kit, food, water, flashlights, etc.) in case you have to stay in your car on the side of the road until the storm passes
- Keep your headlights clear of snow to increase visibility
- Make sure your wipers are in good condition
- Check that snow is not blocking the exhaust as carbon monoxide can make it’s way back inside the car
- If you can and are willing to, find an empty lot where you can practice your steering during skids and learn when and how to use your ABS systems. But always be safe
Ric’s Body & Paint Can Restore Your Car
If you’ve suffered a car collision while driving in harsh winter conditions, Ric’s Body & Paint is here for you. Whether it is minor dents or major damage, our experienced technicians will carefully repair or replace all damaged parts to the manufacturer’s specifications. Contact us today to learn more about our wide range of collision repair services.