There is no question that driving gets much more dangerous during the winter. Not only do you have to contend with slippery roads and decreased visibility, but it always seems that everyone forgets how to drive whenever it snows. If you want to avoid having to contact a personal injury attorney after crashing your vehicle this winter, keep these four winter driving tips in mind.
When in Doubt, Don’t Go Out
Of all the winter driving tips we can provide, the best is to just stay home when conditions are at their worst. That sounds like it should be obvious, but there will always be people who feel the need to make a quick and unnecessary trip to a grocery store during a blizzard. If you don’t feel like you can drive safely, stay put.
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Reduce Your Speed
People forget that speed limits are intended for clear, dry roads. You will need to reduce your speed when you drive on an icy or snowy road. A road that looks dry can still have black ice that will make it hard to stop. You should be able to at least drive close to the posted speed limit most of the time, but get ready to slow down when you need to. Also, don’t assume that you don’t have to heed any winter driving tips if you have a large vehicle such as a pickup truck or an SUV with four-wheel drive. The very fact that these vehicles are larger makes them harder to stop when they’re speeding.
Give Yourself More Time to Brake
This ties closely in with having to reduce your speed when you drive. Since a winter road will be much more slippery, so it will be a lot harder to come to a sudden stop. In fact, slamming on your brakes will only cause your tires to lock up and slide out of control. When you drive on a slippery road, give yourself plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front of you. When it comes time to stop, slow to a stop while applying gentle pressure on the brake pedal. You might be tempted to pump your brakes, but while this will work for some vehicles, it will do more harm than good if you have anti-lock brakes. Since anti-lock brakes by their definition prevent your wheels from locking up, pumping them will only increase the amount of time it takes you to stop.
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Don’t Use Cruise Control
As convenient as cruise control can be on dry roads, it causes more trouble than it’s worth during the winter. It’s not always easy to tell when the road ahead of you will be slippery, so you will need to react quickly and adjust your speed accordingly. That’s a lot harder to do if you have to turn off your cruise control first.
The most important thing to remember when driving during the winter is to always be cautious and use common sense. Driving on an icy or snowy road is more difficult than driving on a dry road, but you should be okay as long as you take it slow and remember these basic winter driving tips.
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