Regardless of a driver’s experience, winter roads are hazardous and certain precautions should always be taken to ensure your safety and the safety of other drivers.
Drivers should know the safety rules before heading out on hazardous roads and be prepared for most situations. Here’s some information to help you safely get to your destination:
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly: Applying the gas slowly is the best way to regain traction and avoid skidding. Take time to slowly approach stop lights and signs.
- Drive slowly: Everything takes longer on snowy and icy roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – give yourself time and space to maneuver.
- Threshold braking: Regardless of the type of brakes on your vehicle, use threshold braking for safer stops. 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.
- Going up hills: Try gaining a little speed or inertia before you reach the hill and let that carry you to the top. As you crest the hill, reduce your speed.
- Don’t stop on hills: It’s hard to gain traction on an icy or snowy hill.
- Steer into a skid: When you start to slide, turn the wheel in the direction you want to go and hold steady. Do not slam on the breaks or try to accelerate out of the slide.
- Avoid driving when you are tired.
- Never warm the vehicle up in an enclosed area.
- Check all your fluids and tire pressure before traveling.
- Do not use cruise control.
- Keep at least half a tank of fuel in your vehicle at all times.
- Pack a safety kit with blankets, water, food, gloves, hats, a flashlight and any needed medication.
- If you become stranded don’t leave your vehicle. It’s a good shelter and will make it easier for rescuers to find you.
- Don’t overexert yourself trying to free your vehicle.
- Ensure your exhaust pipe is not clogged. Blocked exhaust could cause carbon monoxide gas to leak into the vehicle.
- Only run the engine long enough to remove the chill.