Don’t Make These Winter Driving Errors: Part Two

Worst Winter Driving Errors

Stopping in the middle of an incline. Drivers must leave plenty of room between their own car and the vehicle ahead of them. It’s important to keep the momentum going while traveling uphill. Stopping in the middle of an incline may cause you to become stuck or start sliding backward.

Not staying in your lane. Unnecessary lane changes may cause your car to hit a patch of black ice or force you to plow through a strip of deep snow. Instead, stay safe by staying straight in your lane until you must turn off the road.

Having a panic attack. In the event that you find yourself in a skidding situation, stay calm and maintain steady pressure on the brake. If your car has anti-lock brake system (ABS), it will automatically pump the brakes for you. Hold the brake pedal down and steer smoothly, looking in the direction you want the car to go. 

Using the cruise control. Don’t use cruise control with slick road conditions. Your car’s cruise control doesn’t have a feel for loose road conditions and will often add more power when you don’t need it, leading to a loss of control. Instead, retain full control of the gas pedal, brakes, and steering to ensure a safe drive during harsh winter conditions.

Trying to power your way out. Some cars with 4×4 system plus a good ground clearance can help get you up and moving in deeper snow. If you’re stuck in snow, clear the area around the front wheels and turn off any traction system. Then, gently shift back and forth between reverse and a low forward gear, spinning the wheels as little as possible. Call for help if your attempts fail.

Stuck and still running? After clearing the snow from the base of the vehicle and any snow blocking the exhaust pipe, turn engine on periodically to keep the interior of your car warm. You could run out of gas and potentially risk carbon monoxide poisoning  if you just let the engine run. You can open the window about 2 inches down and keep warm with a blanket. 

Speeding on overpasses. Speeding on a bridge or overpass in winter? Do you know the weather’s impact on bridges and overpasses – that’s where icy conditions develop first because of the different exposure to air. Surface conditions can be worse on a bridge than on the approach road just before it, so expect less traction. Slow down before you reach all bridges and overpasses; lower speeds allow for better reaction time.