All across the country, we’re seeing excessively cold temperatures and wind chill that makes unpleasant conditions seem downright nasty. It’s a tough environment that’s made even more dangerous when a winter storm blows through to compromise roads. You need to know how to safely operate a vehicle if you’re going to brave the conditions, and thus you should consult the following safety tips from AOL and Weather.com.
The first thing you should understand is that the best way to keep safety assured is to not drive through perilous conditions at all. If your errand or appointment isn’t essential, or if you can work from home, consider waiting until the roads clear up before getting behind the wheel. And even if you do drive, know that no one is going to think less of you if you have to pull over. The weather can get worse at a moment’s notice, and if the roads become too slick or you can’t see, simply pull over to a safe place and stay put until you feel ready to embark again.
There are also certain driving maneuvers you shouldn’t attempt when the roads are bad. Tailgating is particularly hazardous in winter weather. Resign yourself to the fact that it’s going to take everyone longer to get to their destination, and have patience with vehicles that are going slow. When roads are icy, it’s going to take you far longer to stop, and thus you need to keep as much distance as you safely can between you and a leading automobile.
Also turn off the cruise control, as this technology typically doesn’t take into account the snow and ice that can imperil your safety. If hydroplaning occurs, there’s a far greater chance of losing control if the cruise control is on. Whereas a careful driver’s first instinct will be to slow down, the cruise control mechanism is likely to do the opposite. Without having traction on the ground, the tires will speed up and potentially worsen the situation.
Leave aggressive driving maneuvers behind during inclement weather. Slamming on the brakes or the gas pedal and constantly shifting lanes to get around other vehicles is not acceptable in poor weather conditions. Give yourself time to get to your destination, and don’t think that having four wheel drive makes aggressive driving permissible. Although the system can help your starting power amid slush, it won’t aid you on slippery roads.
Finally, understand that many of the most serious crashes occur after an initial impact. Since roads are slick, a non-injurious collision can beget a far more dangerous wreck if a car approaching from behind can’t stop in time. Avoid such situations if you can, and if you do get stuck, call for help at once. To facilitate this action, have a cellphone handy, and also stock blankets, a flashlight, clothing, and a first aid kit in your vehicle in case you have to be stuck inside for awhile.