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10 Tips for Driving in Slippery, Slushy, Snowy Road Conditions
A Primer on Winter Driving Techniques
To avoid an accident, here are 10 driving techniques that should be employed when driving in rain, snow, sleet, or hail:
1. Reduce your speed. Wet and snowy roads require you to better control the vehicle, so reduce your speed to where you feel comfortable. Don’t worry if your speed is considerably less than the posted speed limits of the road. Those limits are based on ideal road conditions. It’s best to pace your driving to avoid the need for sudden stops on wet and icy road conditions.
Most importantly, you shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that your four-wheel drive or heavy vehicle can properly handle the slippery or wet roads at normal speed. Often times, these are the vehicles that you see along the side of the road as a result of a spinout. While SUVs, four-wheel drive vehicles and trucks are better in handling various road conditions, you still need to reduce your speed to achieve this performance.
2. Increase the distance length between other vehicles. Tailgating or leaving only one car length distance between you and the car in front of you does not leave ample space for you to react to wet or slippery road conditions. Experts recommend increasing your following distance to four car lengths in rain or snow conditions. In addition to giving you more time to react to you car’s slipping or spinning, it will also help to keep your windshield clear of flying spray or ice from the car in front of you.
3. Familiarize yourself with how your anti-lock brakes function in slippery conditions. Read your vehicle manual and get comfortable with how you should brake on wet, icy and snowy roads.
4. Gradually accelerate, brake and turn. If you do these things suddenly on a wet or slippery road, you lose traction and could end up losing control of your vehicle.
5. Lift your foot off the accelerator a bit when going under bridges or on overpasses. There could be shady spots where ice and snow may still be present, causing you to spin out.
6. Drive slowly when snowplows are behind or around you. Often times, snow plow operators have to make sudden stops or maneuvers to avoid vehicles stranded in the road or obstacles blocking the road, like fallen tree limbs or telephone wires. And never pass a snowplow that is working in tandem with other snowplows.
7. Be extra careful driving in very windy conditions. Blowing snow can cause white-out conditions, even during the daytime. Don’t try to continue driving it you can’t see. Pull over to the side of the road until weather conditions improve.
8. Avoid using your vehicle’s cruise control function in snowy, icy, or rainy weather. For safety purposes, you need to manually control the acceleration of your vehicle.
9. Avoid talking on your cell phone when driving during inclement weather. This could distract from focusing all your attention on your driving.
10. Stay as far away as possible from vehicles whose drivers failed to clear the snow from the roof. This could end up flying onto other vehicles, especially windshields, when driving. Remember to clear snow away from your car’s hood and roof to avoid flying blocks of snow.