Driving in winter weather especially with precipitation is among the most dangerous types of driving and requires extreme caution. However, when it’s still necessary make sure to don’t turn it worse by causing a car accident in extreme winter weather. You can minimize the risk of getting involved in a winter driving accident by keeping a few winter driving tips in mind. Here are some terrible winter driving mistakes to avoid at any cost.
1. Assuming that you’re on a Four Wheeler Makes you Invincible
While vehicles having four-wheeler drive normally perform better in icy and snowy driving conditions. The technology also backfires by providing drivers with false safety sense.
The four-wheel-drive is ideal for sending the specific amount of required torque for each of the four tires of the car for providing added traction for moving forward through the snowy roads. It doesn’t mean, however, that you’ll race on the road at high speeds with snow and stop instantly. Four-wheel drives don’t provide you with the traction required for braking. While it helps in getting through a few difficult conditions, it doesn’t guarantee total safety.
2. Not Having Enough Knowledge About Winter Driving
The mistake isn’t only winter-related. Make sure to be prepared to address any type of emergency while you’re driving – irrespective of the weather, or the season. Having an emergency kit in the car at times is handy in case of emergencies.
Certain times are mainly important for keeping the car in winter. You’ve seen the person getting stranded in a snow bank on the roadside (or maybe you’ve been that person). Getting stranded is quite awful but it is a whole lot simple when you’ve had an emergency kit. The winter driving kit also must include vital items such as gloves, an ice scraper, or a shovel.
Besides having an emergency kit in the car, make sure to always have a half-full gas tank. Also, make sure to look for favorable weather conditions before hitting the highway. If bad weather turns out in the forecast, avoid driving unless it seems necessary.
3. Not Clearing Out Ice and Snow from your Car
We know that cleaning the ice and snow from your car isn’t a fun thing to do. While it is cold outside and clearing snow might take a while, mainly post large snowstorms. The use of a snowbrush for brushing away six inches of snow can give a good workout like burn. Driving with ice or snow present on the car exteriors isn’t safe, and it is also illegal in a few states.
In New Jersey, drivers who didn’t clear their cars of ice and snow face fines of around $25 and $75. When ice and snow fly off your car and results in injuries or property damage, the motorists can face fines of $200 to $1,000.
In Pennsylvania, drivers also get fined to $200 to $1,000 when the snow dislodges from the vehicle and results in injury or death to a motorist or a pedestrian. So, when you don’t wish to pay fine or risk a crash, you should clear your car before driving.
You should provide yourself with enough time for clearing ice and snow off the car. You can wake up a few minutes early to start engine ahead of time so you can also turn on the defrosters. Also don’t leave the engine running in enclosed areas like garage!
Driving Close to the Snowplows
Anyone can easily get frustrated while driving behind slow-moving snowplow. However, it’s important to remember that the snowplows make the road safe and cars avoid rubber speed bumps while following them. Road in front of plow can’t be clear yet. Thus it’s better to slowly drive on clear road compared to pass snowplow to realize a lot of snow is there on the highway that would make it difficult for driving your car.
The following tips are stated by Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to drive near plow:
- Be at least six car lengths behind an operating snowplow.
- Turn the headlights on so snowplow operator would also see you.
- Quickly move away from centerline while approaching snowplow head-on.
- Don’t pass various trucks plowing side-by-side in “plow train.”
Make sure to not directly drive to snowplow. They’ve got blind spots and move quickly sideways upon hitting heavy snowpack.
5. Panicking When Car Starts Slipping
You’re driving on clear road and all of a sudden you’ve hit rubber speed bumps or black ice and started skidding. This is frightening situation to be in, but panicking only turns it worse. When your car starts slipping, avoid hitting the brakes, accelerating, or making other sudden vehicle movements. Just gradually pull the wheel in the direction of the destination. The tires soon regain traction!
Most people feel stressed out and scared in winter weather. You must be concerned as the ice or snow on the highway results in thousands of vehicle crashes annually. However, overreacting or panicking in situations such as skids also has disastrous consequences. When you’re afraid of driving in snow or ice, you should get informed about winter driving to make safe choices.