A Guide to Winter Driving

First of all, apologies to those who will find this information covers things that they already know. The intent of this particular guide is not to reinvent the wheel, but rather to act as an educational resource. If you know someone who is new to winter driving, like a child or a spouse, sharing this information with them can help them recognize hazardous winter driving conditions.

1 / Adjust your speed accordingly


I know what you’re thinking – this one is a no-brainer. But knowing how and when to adjust your speed really depends on the abilities of the vehicle. For instance, if your vehicle sits lower to the ground than others, accumulated snow could cause you to lose control of your vehicle in situations that don’t affect larger vehicles.

If you know your tires are worn or you haven’t yet installed winter tires, you’ll find that you might have poor traction and control; take the condition of your vehicle as well as the condition of the roads into consideration and adjust your speed accordingly.

2 / Turn signals


When the weather is bad, your driving habits should become more deliberate. It’s generally recommended that during the winter, you should indicate your intent to change lanes using four to five blinks before initiating the lane change. This gives the other drivers around you a significant heads up as to what you’re doing. Likewise, be sure to signal your intention to make a turn before you begin slowing down. If you don’t signal before you start slowing down and the road is icy, there is a greater chance you may be inadvertently involved in a collision.

3 / Observe tire spray


You can gauge a great deal about the conditions of the road by observing the amount of tire spray coming off the tires of the other vehicles on the road. If there’s a lot of spray, then obviously, the roads are wet – but they aren’t necessarily slick. If there is less spray and the roads look wet, you might want to start taking extra caution; the combination of diminishing tire spray and seemingly wet roads is an indication that the water on the road is beginning to freeze. If the road looks wet and there is little to no spray, you’re driving on black ice.

4 / Consider waiting out a storm


If you’re driving in the middle of a winter storm and think you should just pull over and wait it out, it’s important to know the best places to do that. If you happen to be traveling on a road that isn’t a major commuting artery, try to make it to somewhere open 24 hours, like a motel, gas station, or restaurant. Doing so will reduce the risk of you getting boxed in by the snow and gives you somewhere warm to take refuge.

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