Winter driving is a joy for some and a nightmare for others. It all depends on the vehicle, road and weather conditions, winter preparedness and your skill level behind the wheel.
Of course, it’s important to use proper winter tires and have your car battery checked before the cold season. You can also take advanced driving lessons in controlled environments that will teach you safe techniques you can and should master.
1) Slow Down
Modern vehicles can be deceptively fast. Always keep an eye on the speedometer and abide by the posted speed limits. You should also make a point of reducing your speed at all times to give yourself more time to react.
2) Maintain Longer Distances
During winter, the roads are cold and slippery, so you need to maintain a greater distance between you and the vehicle in front of you (equal to about five seconds or more), once again to improve reaction times.
3) Watch Your Surroundings
Always be mindful of vehicles around you. If you need to change lanes, know how much space you have. It will probably take more than what you’re used to in the summer. In rural areas, pay attention to the sides of the road in case a wild animal suddenly crosses your path.
4) Minimize Distractions
Loud or chatty passengers, the radio, gadgets in the car, your cell phone, a quick lunch on the go… These are all distractions that prevent you from focusing on the road ahead. Nothing is more important than watching the road when you’re driving, especially during winter.
5) Know How to Stop Skidding
To stop the front wheels from skidding (understeer), ease up on the accelerator or brake pedal and steer the wheels in the direction of the turn, while looking in the direction you want the vehicle to go. Avoid sudden moves. If the rear end of the vehicle goes sideways (oversteer), turn the front wheels in the direction in which the rear end has started swinging, while of course looking in the direction you want to go.