Driving on Icy Roads and Snow

comedy guys defensive driving blog driving on icy roads and snow

For most of us, driving is the most high risk activity we engage in.

Bad weather conditions, such as ice or snow, make the driving environment even more dangerous.

We need to raise our level of caution as well as our level of concentration when we are faced with increased risk. Not only do we face a physical challenge created by the harsh environment but we should also be prepared to face the emotional challenge that comes with bad weather conditions.

 

Don’t Drive If You Don’t Have To

The easiest way to avoid trouble is to not drive when conditions are bad.

Take a day off or work from home if you can. Consider letting the kids stay home from school. Eat what’s in the house instead of going out.

If at all possible  stay off the roads until conditions have improved.

 

Plan Your Trips with More Care

Taking trips in winter weather requires planning.

If you have no choice and have to drive when conditions are bad, check the weather reports. Be alert to details about  your destination and for the route you will be taking. A road you plan to use may be too dangerous or even closed forcing you to change your plans. Knowing about the conditions beforehand will enable you to be better prepared for your trip.

The easiest way to avoid trouble is to not drive when conditions are bad.

In cold weather environments it’s a good idea to keep the gas tank 1/2 to 3/4 full. This will avoid having to fill up in the cold and could help prevent your gas line from freezing

Beyond just planning the route more carefully, prepare for problems by packing a few extra things into the car. Remember to bring warm clothes, gloves and hats. Also blankets and extra food and water. As well as rope and tire chains. Have an extra cell phone charger in the car, and maybe have something “non-tech” like a book with you, to keep you entertained while you wait without draining your phone’s battery.

If you do happen to get struck or stranded, you’ll be very glad you took a couple of minutes to pack these items.

 

Stay Calm on Icy Roads

People who are a stressed out or angry under normal conditions will only feel more stressed or angry when conditions are poor.

Dangerous road conditions such as icy roads or snow demand our full attention and must be handled with calm focus. When faced with adverse conditions it is the driver who is calm of mind that will handle the difficult circumstances in the best way.

 

Be Slow and Cautious on Icy Roads and Snow

The most effective thing to do when driving in winter weather is also the simplest: SLOW DOWN!

In any bad weather situation, the slower you go, the less trouble you will have. The speed limit is set for dry roads. When that changes, we should change how we drive. Adjust speed to the conditions. On icy roads or snow this could mean driving less than 10 mph.

Reduced speed equals reduced risk.

 

Anticipate Trouble Spots

For example, if roads are icy or snow covered, slow down well before you get to a curve. This will allow you to turn gradually rather than quickly. Avoid making sharp turns because they make it more likely that your tires will “skate” over the road, leaving you with no control.

If you need to increase your speed, do it slowly. If you need to decrease your speed, do it slowly. That’s right, you should even slow down slowly. To avoid making things more difficult, keep your speed slow and constant. Make any changes in speed or direction very slowly.

Take extra care
with curves, hills,
tunnels, bridges,
starting and
stopping.

In winter weather proceed cautiously as you approach bridges and overpasses. Remember they will freeze quicker than other surfaces because they have no warm ground underneath them.

When driving on icy roads keep in mind a thin layer of ice can look like a dry road. This is the invisible “black ice” that you hear so much about. It only takes a small amount of ice to cause you to lose control of your vehicle.

Be careful driving on hills when the temperature gets cold. Snow and ice can make even a small hill dangerous. If you can, accelerate before you reach a hill and allow your momentum to get you over the top. Trying to accelerate on a steep hill can cause you to spin. And if you lose control on a hill, the only way to go is down. If you lose traction, slow, steady acceleration gives you the best chance of regaining it.

Also keep in mind that hard packed snow can be just as slick as ice. So, on snow covered roads, slow down and increase following distance. The further away we are from other vehicles the less likely we are to have a collision.

 

If You Do Get Stuck

If your vehicle does get caught in the snow, the safest thing to do is to stay with the vehicle. Wandering off in snowy weather is very dangerous. You can become disoriented and unable to find your vehicle.

It’s also easier for searchers to find your vehicle than to find you if you have walked off in a snowstorm. Always have a flashlight with fresh batteries. A bright colored blanket is another valuable item that could make the vehicle easier to see for those who are looking for you. It’s always better to have these things just in case.

 

The simplest rules are the most effective when it comes to winter weather driving. Calm down and slow down. Keep a healthy respect for the conditions.

These things can keep you at your best when conditions are at their worst

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