When the winter season arrives and the snow and ice are on the road, knowing your winter driving lessons can spare you a lot of trouble.
We always imagine the winter season as one with holidays, snowy landscapes, magical winter drives at night-while the snow is gently falling, a nice tune is on the radio,….pure heaven).
But let’s face it: most of the time the winter season is a pain for a driver. Every winter you’ll get your fair share of snow on the road, ice or black ice, blizzards, cleaning the driveway in order to be able to get out of the garage etc.
Every safety tip and driving lesson that I’ll mention in this article has one purpose: safety and to help get you through the winter driving season without headaches. This goes out double for new drivers.
So, here they are:
The most important driving lesson in winter without a doubt. Your whole time conception has to change as driving fast in winter is not an option. Even if the roads are cleared from snow. When temperatures are low there’s always danger of ice or black ice. Believe me, if you hit ice with high-speed, there’s a slim possibility that you’re going to be able to stay on the road.
Keep your distance:
Never and I mean never drive closely to someone in winter conditions. If you have to make an emergency braking have in mind that you’ll need at least double the time and distance to make full stop.
Take your time:
Plan in advance and always take in consideration that there may be traffic jams, snow on the roads etc. This is important and is connected tightly to the first tip: for instance if you go earlier to work you can drive slower which dramatically reduces your chances of getting in to trouble.
Avoid any sudden movement with the car:
Sudden change of lanes, sudden turns, giving sudden throttle and so on highly reduces safety. This can cause sudden loss of control. Only experienced drivers can maybe get themselves out of a situation like this. Most will not.
Don’t panic whatever the situation is :
Apart from slow driving, perhaps the most important safety tip. Panic causes the driver to make sudden movements and we’ve talked about the outcome of that. If you get yourself into a tight spot (start sliding on the road, stuck in snow, can’t start the car) there is always a solution, trust me. You can call road help, someone on the road will help or you can help yourself. The most important thing is to have all the necessities in the car like winter equipment, charger for the phone and other. If the road trip is longer some extra food and beverage will never hurt.
Easy with the braking and accelerating pedal:
Brake and accelerate very lightly! Every sudden brake or acceleration can cause loss of control. It can cause sliding on the road, getting yourself stuck in snow etc. Have in mind that if you test your luck even the most advanced electronic helpers (ABS, ESP etc.) and the newest of winter tires will not keep you on the road.
Keep good visibility from the car :
Before starting your trip clean the car from snow and ice (if your car was left outside). Don’t be lazy, scrape away all the ice, clean of the snow (from the roof too). These all cause poor visibility which can reduce safety. Starting the car a bit earlier will help a lot with the scraping and cleaning
Longer trips in winter equals more stops:
slow driving and sun reflection from the snow tend to cause drive fatigue (especially driving in blizzards). So, if you’re on a longer trip make more stops. This has a double effect: you can take some rest (safety first) and clear the car from snow (headlights and wheel arches).
At the end (and this is not a driving lesson, rather a friendly suggestion) : help other people on the road. Sounds a bit corny but when you’re in a tight spot, a few extra hands can make a big difference. Just imagine yourself in the same situation. If you see somebody who needs help (stuck in the snow, can’t start the car etc.) lend a hand. Goes double for when you see women and children in the car.