If you’ve ever been out driving in a snowstorm then you know what slippery roads are all about. While you know that snowstorms aren’t the best conditions to drive in, often you don’t have a choice; “gotta go pick up the kids!” If you find yourself doing this, don’t panic. Driving in slippery conditions isn’t dangerous if you take a few precautions. Consider the next four items and you will cut your risk dramatically while driving in snow.
- Driving Too Fast
Driving too fast is the biggest error when driving in the snow. Most people have a habit of thinking that once they’ve out on the road, they can drive at their usual speeds. The solution to this is a cognitive one: Tell yourself that these are not usual conditions. Really think about it. Driving too fast is asking for an accident. And if you do need to panic brake, it takes four to 10 times longer to brake on snowy pavement than it does on dry asphalt. Just drive more slowly and you will be safe.
- Following Too Closely
Just like the issue of driving too fast, many people make the mistake of following too close to the vehicle in front of them. What this does is it lessens your reaction time if there’s someone in front of you and you need to slow down suddenly. You may skid right into the car in front of you and there is little you can do about it.
We asked a friend we have at Len Stoler Lexus of Ownings Mills, a local Lexus dealer in Ownings Mills, MD, and he gave us a great rule of thumb about this: it’s recommended that you double or triple your normal distance between cars when the weather is snowy. Put another way, for every 10mph you’re traveling, you should give yourself four car lengths of space. Do this and you will be much safer.
- Not Being Prepared for the Snow Season
The most dangerous time to be on the road is during the first snowstorm of the year. Drivers haven’t prepared their cars for the wintry weather and they’ve almost certainly forgotten their snow driving techniques. You’ve probably heard the adage: “It’s the other guy I’m worried about.” This is a good example of that really being true.
As far as being ready yourself, first check that each of your tires are in good shape and are inflated properly. If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, consider purchasing snow tires. Inside your car have a snow shovel, jumper cables and an emergency kit.
- Thinking Your AWD Makes You Invincible
While vehicles with All Wheel Drive (AWD) and Four-Wheel Drive (4X4) have the edge when it comes to “going,” they aren’t any better at “stopping.” Most drivers know this but they can get into a false sense of security with these systems. Even though you may be driving an AWD or 4X4 vehicle, drive as slowly as everyone else or you might be that “other guy” that everyone warns you about.