Ski Season brings dicey driving weather

Driving in heavy snow can be a tricky situation. Snow and ice can make for extremely slick road conditions, increasing the chances you'll be involved in some type of fender bender (or more serious) accident during winter weather. But by following a few simple tips, you can greatly reduce your chances of being involved in a snow-related accident. Here are just a few suggestions to get you going:

  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for gaining traction and avoiding skids. Don't try to get moving in a hurry, and take time to slow down for a stoplight. It takes much longer to slow down on icy roads than it does on clear roads.
  • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, and turning all most be given extra time.
  • The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds when roads are covered with now. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop abruptly.
  • Know your brakes. Whether you have anti-lock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
  • Don't stop if you can avoid it. There's a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don't power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little movement going before you reach the hill and let that momentum carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible.
  • Stay home if you really don't have to be anywhere. Even if you can drive well in the snow, a lot of other drivers cannot.

Just take your time when driving in snow

Follow the above tips before setting out on a winter journey. Whether you're driving hundreds of miles to visit family, 20 miles to the slopes, or just to the store for some emergency supplies, it's important to take it slowly. The more prepared you are and the more supplies you have in your car for an emergency, the less likely you are to be involved in a fender bender or collision and be stranded and be put in harm's way. Keep you and your family safe by following these tips for driving in the snow.