Winter driving is more challenging than driving in the summer. Sleet, freezing rain, blowing snow, blizzards, and heavy precipitation can change the road conditions in less than hour. To help keep you safe during these chilly months, we’re sharing a few tips. In fact, there are three main components to safe driving in the winter: staying alert, slowing down, and staying in control.
Distracted driving accounts for approximately 25% of all motor vehicle crash fatalities. This becomes even more dangerous when combined with winter weather conditions. So put your phone on Do Not Disturb or Driving Mode so you can stay focused on the road.
Also, did you know that drowsy driving is considered impaired driving? Driving after going more than 20 hours without sleep is the equivalent of driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08%, which is the U.S. legal limit. Be sure to get the proper amount of rest to reduce driving risks.
Winter driving conditions such as rain, snow, and ice dramatically affect the braking distance of a vehicle. In general, it’s in your best interest to follow the 3-4 second rule: stay at least 3-4 seconds behind the person in front of you. In winter weather conditions, increase this to 6-10 seconds to give yourself more time to react.
Stay in Control
When roads are covered in snow and ice, normal driving functions such as braking, turning, and accelerating take longer to execute.
A few common winter steering risks include understeer and oversteer. Understeer is a front wheel skid where you turn the steering wheel and the front tires slide, instead of gripping the road. Avoid the urge to steer harder into the turn or slam on the brakes. Instead, take your foot off the accelerator and slowly turn the wheel straight until your tires are able to grip the road.
Oversteer occurs when the rear tires lose grip in a turn and the rear of the car starts to swing out, resulting in a tighter turn than desired. Do not slam on the breaks or try to overcompensate with steering. Steer into the skid and gently accelerate to regain control.
BRAKING AND ACCELERATING
As mentioned earlier, it’s important to slow down when driving in winter weather. Always remember to apply and remove pressure to the brake and gas pedals as smoothly as possible. Reduce the need for sudden breaking by scanning the road ahead. When accelerating, apply gentle pressure to the gas pedal to avoid causing your tires to lose traction and spin, which could reduce your control of the vehicle.
Winter tires are specifically designed for winter driving conditions. What makes winter tires a necessity in the winter? They are equipped with a special single-directional tread pattern that actually pushes away snow and ice.They also have a deeper tread depth than all-season tires and are made with special compounds that can withstand extremely low temperatures. Plus, some insurance companies will reduce your rate if you have winter tires on your car, helping you save money.
Did You Know?
Successful winter driving takes planning and forethought, so does ensuring your valuable items are documented in case of an emergency. Let Encircle help you, your car, and your home stay safe this winter.
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