FOLLOW THESE TIPS FOR SAFE DRIVING IN WINTER
Winter weather can make for some pretty hairy driving conditions. Following a few basic tips can help you get through the winter season unscathed. These may seem like “well, duhhh” suggestions but having been out in the first bad weather of the season up here in Minnesota, clearly there are some who need a refresher course in safe winter driving.
1. Check road conditions before you leave so you know what you’re in for. Your local DOT online is a good place to start.
2. Give yourself more time and take it slow and easy. If you pad in a little extra time for your commute, you’ll be less likely to drive in an unsafe manner.
3. FOLLOW AT A SAFE DISTANCE. The 2-second rule becomes the 8-second rule on slippery roads.
4. CLEAR YOUR WINDOWS AND MIRRORS OF SNOW AND ICE FOR CLEAR VIEWS AT ALL ANGLES. Please don’t be the fool who’s peering through a 2-inch hole scraped in the ice on your windshield.
6. BE SURE TO CLEAR THE SNOW OFF THE HOOD AND ROOF OF YOUR VEHICLE. Otherwise, it will inevitably pick the most inopportune time to blow up on you windshield or slide down onto your back window and obstruct your view. Even a momentary loss of view can land you in the ditch.
7. FOR THE LOVE OF CORN NUTS*, SLOW DOWN! Unless you’re POTUS on your way to push the red button because WWIII is imminent, there’s no need for you to be driving like a bat out of Hades. Sorry, but you’re just not that important!
8. BE GENERALLY AWARE OF TRAFFIC AROUND YOU. When the fit hits the shan, you want to have an idea of what/who is around you and maneuver accordingly if possible.
9. KNOW WHAT TO DO IF YOU START TO SPIN OR SLIDE. The two most important things to remember are to stay calm and resist the urge to slam on your brakes. Wait until your vehicle has slowed, then steer in the direction you want to go. Practice reacting to skids and spins in an empty parking lot so you’re prepared.
10. PAY ATTENTION TO OBVIOUS CLUES. See someone spinning? Take that as a hint and slow down. If there are multiple cars in the ditch, that’s a pretty good indicator of road conditions.
11. NEWS FLASH: FOUR WHEEL DRIVE DOESN’T GIVE YOU A BYE WHEN IT COMES TO SAFE DRIVING IN INCLEMENT WEATHER. 4WD and AWD don’t provide any extra traction when it comes to braking and handling. Sure, 4WD/AWD helps when accelerating on slick surfaces, but once you’re moving, you’re no better off than anybody else.
*Corn Nuts by Kraft…a delightfully tasty snack made from corn kernels that are toasted to crunchy perfection.