Freezing temperatures are here, and with them are snow and ice. While most people know to make sure their tires are properly inflated, the gas tank is full and to bring along an emergency kit when dealing with these conditions, many don’t know some of the most important things to keep in mind about winter driving. Keep reading to find out what you should know before you head out.
You already know to accelerate and drive slower when the roads are icy, but you also have to make sure you turn slower as well. Additionally, make sure to give yourself much more time to stop than you would in dry conditions; and again, brake slowly rather than stomping on them. Doing all of these things more slowly will minimize the slipping and sliding so you can arrive safely.
Clean Off Your Vehicle
Yes, it’s cold, but you still need to remove more than just the snow and ice from in front of your face on the windshield. In fact, you need to clean the entire car off – including using a broom to knock the snow off the top. While it might not affect you, snow and ice blowing off your vehicle can limit visibility and even damage the cars that are driving behind you. If you can’t handle the cold long enough to do a thorough cleaning, either park in a garage or pay the neighbor's kid.
Safety Features Won’t Save You
Safety features are helpful, but you can’t rely on them to keep you safe during winter driving. Here’s a hint: that AWD system you think will keep you on the road is meant for improved acceleration – not better grip in the ice and snow. Additionally, be aware that antilock brakes will make it take longer to stop, so leave plenty of space.
Size Isn’t Everything
Winter driving has a way of making all vehicles relatively equal. This means that your massive SUV doesn’t make it possible for you to drive faster than everyone around you. Doing so is just asking for trouble, especially if you try to turn too quickly or hit a patch of ice under the snow.
Make sure your car is prepared for winter driving. Contact YourMechanic for help with proper tire inflation, battery replacement and other services that can help keep you safer on the roads.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as 4 Essential Things to Know About Winter Driving and was authored by Valerie Johnston.