Every year, nearly 900 people are killed and approximately 76,000 people are injured in vehicle crashes during snowfall or sleet. Do you know how to prevent an accident in poor conditions? No one is a fan of skidding and sliding on slush covered winter roads, but with these tips to keep you safe, you’ll be prepared to get home safe.
Whether you have a brand new four wheel drive SUV or the same front wheel drive car you bought for $400 back in college, you can use this information to get where you’re going in one piece. These 10 tips will help you cruise through winter with ease:
1. Accelerate & decelerate SLOWLY.
I know what you’re thinking, “Obviously!”, but this is important. Hitting the gas too hard will pack the snow down and leave your tires spinning in a desperate attempt to find traction. Slamming on your breaks will send you sliding forward and possibly swerve you sideways. So, the best way to keep your traction in snow and slush is to ease on the gas or gently pump your brake. You should leave yourself plenty of room between other cars to guarantee you won’t have to hit your brakes too hard. It’s best if you can avoid coming to a complete stop, and instead, can slow enough for a stoplight to change.
2. Drive Slowly
If you don’t have four wheel drive, this is very important. You will have less traction to begin with so driving fast or trying to turn too quickly will only spin tires on ice or packed slush. If you do have four wheel drive, remember, it does not mean you can drive as fast as normal. While it does provide more grip, it is not a traction guarantee and you can still slid or spin. A good rule of thumb is to subtract 10mph from the speed limit if the conditions are bad.
3. Don’t Power Up Hill
Accelerating up hill will only pack the snow and cause you to spin your wheels, once that happens you will only be left to back down the hill or get a push. In order to avoid this, build your speed at the base of the hill, allowing your momentum to carry you to the top. As you are going up a hill, avoid stopping where at all possible.
4. Do Not Use Cruise Control
Should you start to slide or lose traction, this will only make it harder for you to get in control of the car.
5. Look & Steer Where You Want to Go
Should you start to slide or spin, remain calm and look to the direction you want to go, turning you wheels in that direction. When your wheels regain traction, you will be going back to where you need.
These tips will help to keep your vehicle under control and on the road, but it is always a good idea to keep a small emergency kit and supplies with you just in case. It’s best to keep extra gloves, blankets, boots, a small shovel, and cat liter or sand for improving traction in your vehicle as well as quick energy boosting snacks like protein bars to ensure you are safe if you get stuck until help can arrive.
For more information on keeping your vehicle safe and covered this winter call one of our auto insurance experts at 724-929-2300.