All of the Insurance Agents at Haddock & Associates want to make sure you are equipped with everything you need to drive safely in the snow. Below are some helpful hints t refresh your memory and stay safe.
1. Drive Super Smoothly
The key to safe driving in snow is being smooth with the steering wheel, accelerator, and brakes. Why? Jerky movements with the controls easily unstick tires that have a tenuous grip on the slippery road, so every turn of the wheel, push of the brakes, and movement of the throttle must be deliberate, gentle, and gradual. Pretend there's a cup of scalding coffee in your lap and drive so as not to spill it.
2. Look Far Ahead
The slipperier it gets, the farther down the road you should look—and think. Anticipate what you'll need to do next. Slow way down for turns. Allow double the stopping distance when the road is wet, triple on snow, and even more on ice. Driving carefully and safely takes extra concentration.
3. Heed the Flashing Lights
How much traction do you actually have on a snowy road? One way to know before you get into trouble is to understand what one particular small, amber, flashing light in the instrument cluster means. (It's an outline of a car with squiggly lines behind it.) If you're accelerating in a straight line and this light is blinking, this is the stability-control system warning you that the wheels that drive the car are slipping. Heed it. And ease up on the accelerator so the tires regain their grip.
If you're turning and see a blinking amber light, this is also the stability-control system alerting you that the car is beginning to slide from your intended path. Again, ease back on the accelerator until you are no longer applying any throttle; this allows the car to regain grip. And do not accelerate aggressively when turning tight corners in town on snowy or slushy streets. Always ease into the accelerator so that nothing untoward happens abruptly.
4. Look Here!
If you feel your car beginning to skid, always, always, look where you want to go—not where the car is heading at that precise moment. Let your peripheral vision take care of whatever you're trying to avoid. Racing drivers know that you almost always end up where you are looking; that's one of the reasons they're so good at recovering from skids.
5. Deal with the Skids
Sooner or later you will hit a slick spot and get a queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach as your car starts to slide away from the direction in which you want to be heading. Skids, even big ones, can be managed, and you can bring the car back under full control in short order. First, don't panic—and don't stab the brakes! Instead, do the following:
For a front-wheel skid—where the front tires lose grip and the car turns in a wider arc than you expect—ease off the gas. In a beat or two, the front tires should regain traction. Then aim where you want to go as your traction returns.
For a rear-wheel skid—where the rear tires lose traction and you feel yourself beginning to spin out—quickly turn the steering wheel in the same direction that the rear is sliding. If, say, the rear is swinging to the left, turn the wheel to the left. Ease off the accelerator and stay off the brakes. As the rear wheels regain traction, steer back in the original direction.
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