Winter weather can be dangerous and unpredictable. One way to defend against this is to change driving habits while on the roads. Driving in the winter requires extra attention to other vehicles, the weather, and road conditions. It also requires more maintenance to keep the car working properly. Five tips will help drivers maintain better control in icy or snowy conditions.
Regular Maintenance and Inspections
Winter road conditions like snow and ice take a large toll on a vehicle. The tires become misaligned more frequently and other parts wear down fast. This can affect handling and braking. Cars need regular professional maintenance and inspections during the winter in order to give drivers the most control in all conditions.
Drive Slow and Use Low Gears
Drivers need to reduce speeds on the roads during the winter. Even a small amount of snow on the ground can cause tires to lose traction at high speeds. Driving slower and using lower gears when climbing hills will keep larger areas of the tires in contact with the road. This maintains a consistent level of traction that makes steering, accelerating and braking easier.
Put On Winter Tires
All-weather and performance tires perform very poorly in cold weather. The tires become stiff and slippery on snow and ice. Drivers should switch to season specific tires such as Nokian winter tires or others that are designed specifically for cold weather. The material in winter tires is soft and pliable even in below-freezing temperatures. This allows the tires to grip the road better. The treads on winter tires are also designed to clear away snow as the car moves forward.
Many drivers lose control in winter because of hard or sudden braking. Braking sharply on winter roads will cause cars to skid or fishtail. Drivers need to stop gradually. This means slowly applying or pumping the brakes. Gradual braking ensures that the tires never lose traction because of the weight and speed of the vehicle.
Stop Driving During Intense Storms
There are winter conditions that will make it impossible to effectively control a vehicle while driving. Drivers should stop and pull into a safe area if winter weather becomes too intense. Sudden squalls, heavy ice storms and large hail will all make driving incredibly dangerous. It is better to simply stop and wait until severe weather passes.
Avoiding accidents in the winter means drivers need to act defensively on the roads and take every precaution possible. This includes preparing for unpredictable actions from other drivers. Taking things a little slower while driving and making sure the car is prepared for the winter will make it easier to maintain control on icy and snowy roads.