Winter is here and luckily we have not had any bad winter driving so far. Other areas of the country have already seen more than 5 feet of snow, and Mother Nature is not finished. Although many of us would prefer to stay curled up in front of the fire with a warm cup of hot cocoa when the bad weather hits, for many of us, this is not an option. So, how can you stay safe while braving the winter storms?
Tire Tread Gives You The Edge
Good tire tread will give you an edge over tires that are bald. It won’t help much with black ice but it’ll help in light snow conditions. They are especially important when ice and snow create low friction conditions, any grip your tires can get will be extremely helpful. Don’t risk it, do the penny test. If your tires fail, we can help.
Kitty Litter / Salt / Sand In The Trunk
We’ve mentioned the importance of cat sand in our “The Ultimate Car Survival Kit” post that we made last month. Adding any kind of weight over the back wheels will allow for better control in icy conditions, but keeping a bag of sand, or kitty litter has other benefits. If you find yourself stuck in a particularly deep or icy spot, throw some sand or kitty litter on the ground to help gain traction. It’s a life saver. below is a small review of these three materials for winter driving.
- Kitty litter – Pros: Easy to find, cost is minimal. Cons: It’s a clay and it absorbs water. It the kittly litter will turn to mush (mud) after a few minutes if placed in wet snow.
- Sand – Pros: cheap, does not turn to mush, and it’s heavy. Cons: It’s grain size is so small that it may not provide enouph grip for the tires. It’s weight can also be a con.
- Salt – Pros: It’s cheap, it melts ice and snow. It provides tire grip. This one is the best choice. Buy a bag now. It will sell out fast when the snow comes.
Slow, Smooth, and Gradual
Have you ever heard the principle that “objects in motion stay in motion.” Well, this is particularly true when the roads become slick. The less abrupt your driving, the less likely you are to skid out of control.
Are You Skidding?
While the breaks tend to be people’s panic button when their car is out of control, this can be one of the worst things you can do in a skid. Instead, turn your wheels towards the skid direction in order to help you gain control again. Speed is your enemy.
Back Roads – The Winter Driving Mouse Trap
This is the number one most important tip. Let’s say your on Silverside road right outside of Wilmington. Your coming home from work and the snow is sticking to the road. Make the smart choice, don’t take the back roads. Take the busy roads home. Main roads are plowed, salted and better maintained. This will greatly increase you chances of avoiding a accident. Don’t be lured into the trap, the storm is going to delay you one way or another. The back roads will not save you time.
What are your favorite winter driving techniques and tips? have you tried some of our techniques? Let us know.
Don’t Go For It
This is one of the best winter driving tips that’s on this page. When approaching any decline approach it slowly. Look around before descending down the hill. Do you see any cars with their hazards on? Are their people out of their cars? What does your gut tell you? If you sense any danger DON’T VENTRE DOWN THE HILL. Be smart. Don’t put yourself in the situation.
I have to admit that I ignored this winter driving tip when I was 26 years old. I was driving a Honda Accord. The lightly covered roads where fine. I approached the top of a hill and made the decision to go for it. This was a bad mistake. My car broke free from the road and I hit a telephone pole. I ended up bending front left lower control arm. The telephone pole was fine but the fix cost me plenty. It was a lesson learned. Nothing is more terrifying that being in a car that is picking up speed down a icy hill and you nave no control. Watch what these drivers did to deal with the situation. It’s terrifying.
The Final Winter Driving Tips
Below is a list of items and extra tips that will help you for those snowy days.
- Windshield Wiper Fluid – Get your reservoir topped off. Don’t get caught with bad vision in a snow storm.
- Snow Shovel and Scraper
- Keep your lights on – You will be less liable if you get in a accident and you lights were on. If one flake falls you lights must be on.
- Spinning Wheels – If you stuck in the snow, put the car in low and slooowwly move your tires. Don’t mash the gas. Spinning tires may melt the snow but you’ll get no where.
- Stomp & Steer – Do you have antilock brakes? If, yes stomp on it and let the car to the breaking for you.
- Wipers – Get a pair of wipers that are designed for ice and snow. They are worth the extra penny.
We’d love to hear about your favorite winter driving tips. Have you tried any of ours? Reply below and let us know.