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How to Drive in Winter (Posted on the 6th of January 2010)

Even the most experienced drivers have difficulty navigating an automobile in winter conditions.  The roads are slicker and visibility is likely reduced.  In these conditions, it is not only important to be aware of your actions on the road, but also the actions of other drivers.  Follow this step by step guide to minimize the risk of getting into an accident due to icy roads and other hazardous weather conditions.

  1. Clear the snow from your vehicle

Having clear windows will give you the best visibility possible.  If there is excessive snow on your vehicle, make sure to clear all of the snow from your vehicle.  If snow is left on the roof of your car for example, it will melt as you drive.  This can be extremely dangerous because this excess snow could slide either over your windshield or over your back window.

  1. Use Winter Tires

There are some places in the world where it is required by law to have winter tires during the winter season.  If you live in a place where snow is a rarity, this may not be necessary.  Winter tires do provide you with added traction that will prevent you from spinning if you have to suddenly slam your brakes.

  1. Use all-season windshield wash

This speaks for itself.  Windshield wash that you would normally use during the summer months may freeze when temperatures drop below freezing.  When roads get slippery, quite often salt is used on the roads to keep ice from forming.  This salt gathers quickly on your windshield which can severely inhibit your ability to see the road.  All-season windshield washes have a lower freezing temperature, making it convenient for winter driving.

  1. Use your brakes wisely

Numerous accidents on icy roads occur when your car goes into a tailspin.  The rules for driving on icy roads are similar to the rules for driving on wet slick roads.  If your car begins to hydroplane, use the steering while to regain control.  Release your foot from the gas and DO NOT use the brake.  On an icy road, the same rules apply.  By using your brake if you start to spin will only cause your vehicle to spin faster.  Simply take your foot off the gas and use the wheel to regain control.  If possible, find an empty parking lot where you can practice braking and using the steering wheel to regain control.  Please note that even if you do this that conditions can change.  Practicing skidding is a way for you to understand how icy conditions can affect the way you drive.

how to drive in winter

  1.  Dress Warmly and bring emergency equipment

This might be something that even the most experienced winter drivers ignore.  However, it is a good idea to at least bring enough winter gear in case your car breaks down or if you have to get out and push it out of the snow.  It is also wise to bring a flashlight with lots of extra batteries and a cell phone.

  1. Education and Experience

Like anything, experience driving in winter conditions is the best teacher.  Don’t be fooled by driving schools that claim they can teach you how to drive on icy roads efficiently.  Driving education can be helpful to learn basics; however it is experience alone in a myriad of winter conditions that can best prepare you for this form of driving.

Be prudent when you choose to drive in winter conditions.  There are measures that you can take to minimize your risks on the road and the risks of others.  By reading this article, you have taken the first step in educating yourself on how to drive in winter.

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