The temperatures are pretty low in Chicago this time of year, and like it or not, that means there is the possibility of significant snowfalls before the winter is through. Our lawyers believe that every person living in the Chicago metropolitan area should be educated on the basics of operating a vehicle in ice, sleet, or snow. What follows is a list of winter driving safety tips, to better keep our readers and those around them safe:
When Driving in the Snow:
➢ Accelerate and decelerate gradually. Whether you are stopping, turning, or merging lanes, you have to remember that slower is safer.
➢ When traction is an issue, one of the best methods for regaining your grip of the road and avoiding skids is to apply the gas slowly and wade through the ice and snow using torque, rather than speed.
➢ Increase your following distance to 8-10 seconds behind the car in front of you, in place of the standard 3-5 seconds. In the ice and snow, this extra stopping distance is crucial to preventing accidents.
➢ Know your brakes. No matter which kind of brakes your vehicle has, the best way to stop in snowy conditions is threshold braking. This can be done by keeping the heel of your foot on the car floor, using the ball of your foot to apply firm and steady pressure to the brake pedal.
➢ Avoid stopping, when possible. If you are able to slow down enough to safely continue rolling until a traffic light changes, do so. Your inertia may prevent you from being bogged down by the winter conditions.
➢ Don’t accelerate or apply power when traveling up a hill. Applying extra gas when navigating snow-covered roads is likely to start your wheels spinning and lose your traction. When you reach the crest of the hill, gently reduce your speed and descend as slowly as possible to avoid losing control of your car.
➢ Never stop while going up hill. Once you’ve stopped your vehicle on an icy road, especially an incline, it is very difficult to build up enough momentum to dislodge yourself from the sleet and snow. Do your best to get some inertia going while the road is flat, and then utilize that momentum to tackle the hill.
➢ If it isn’t important, consider staying home. Weird things can happen in the snow, even to seasoned drivers. Remember that even if you drive well in this sort of frigid January weather, many others do not, and tempting fate is never a good idea. (AAA)
We hope that these quick tips will help keep you and your loved ones a little safer this winter.