Whether you’ve lived in Colorado for years or are getting ready for your first season of freezing conditions it never hurts to brush up on winter driving tactics. This season, let’s all make a pledge to be safer drivers with these 6 tips, tricks, and reminders for snowy and icy conditions.
While all-wheel drive (AWD), 4-wheel drive (4WD) vehicles, and vehicles with snow tires do typically perform better in winter driving conditions that does not necessarily mean you should drive as you normally would. By speeding up and driving normally, you are adding unintentional stress to those around you that are a bit unsure of driving conditions, which can equate to a car accident. Avoid speeding up and slamming on the brakes while also coming to a complete stop on an icy road even if you feel confident about your vehicle and experience.
You might be able to navigate through snowdrifts and other obstacles with greater ease, but it is also best to avoid overestimating your vehicle’s abilities. AWD and 4WD vehicles simply get you going, but not necessarily provide additional control when turning.
Driving slowly is the key to keeping your car under control on snowy and icy roads. Accelerate slowly, which will help with traction and leave plenty of space to slow down for traffic lights, stop signs, other vehicles, and potential obstacles.
Most modern cars have anti-lock brakes (ABS), which kick in when you need to come to a hard emergency stop. You know ABS is doing its job when the pedal starts pulsing, which can be an interesting sensation if you aren’t used to it. Don’t panic and maintain control of your car even if that occurs.
Getting to know your brakes on icy conditions is a great way to learn how your vehicle stops when it’s slick. You can even practice in an empty parking lot. Soon enough, you’ll understand why stopping on ice requires twice the distance.
If you’re driving on a highway or other multi-lane roadway during winter conditions or during any other season, remember this age-old driving tip: keep right, pass left.
Nevergo faster than you’re comfortable with, but if you notice a line of traffic building up behind you in the left lane, try moving to the right when it’s safe. This keeps you safe and allows faster drivers to continue on the left passing you.
When the temperature drops the air pressure in your tires does, too. This could lead to a dangerous tire blowout or a flat tire, but checking your tire pressure is the best way to avoid catastrophe.
If you aren’t sure what the recommended tire pressure is for your vehicle, check the owner’s manual. You can also stop in to your local tire shop to have your tires checked pre-snowfall to amp up your safety measures.
Winter tires make a world of difference in certain conditions, and they are a must-have if you’ll be doing a lot of driving in wintry conditions (especially in the mountains). These tires have a deeper tread and edges that can cut into snow and ice more easily, which increases control.
If you do get winter tires, don’t forget tip #1 in today’s list: you aren’t invincible! Treat winter’s icy, snowy roads with respect and you can look forward to a winter full of Colorado fun.