It’s here – Winter. Snow is on the ground and frozen roads lie beneath. Take an extra few minutes and refresh your memory (or share with your new teen drivers) and stay safe on the roads this season.
- Be deliberate and stay smooth. The trick to safe winter driving is to not jerk the wheel and cause the tires to unstick. Every movement, turn, push of the break and throttle makes a difference. Do it gradually, stay smooth and go gently. Some advice, pretend there’s a SUPER hot cup of coffee in your lap, you left your lid at home and you need to do your very, very best to not spill it and burn yourself.
- Mind the lights. Your own in your vehicle like the auto-4wd kicking in or traction control alerting you. Look at the others on vehicles around you. Look out for sudden braking, snow plows, emergency vehicles and school busses.
- Look far ahead. Like… way further than usual. The slipperier it is, the further ahead you look. Always stay alert and think about what you need do do next. Concentration is key. If you need to turn in 1/4 mile, start slowing for it three times sooner than usual and prep for the icy roads.
- Skids. It’ll happen eventually, you will hit an ice patch and that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach will come as your car starts to slide away from the direction that you were heading. Skids, even big ones, can be managed, and you can bring the car back under full control in short order. First, don’t panic and don’t stab the brakes! Car and Driver says, “For a front-wheel skid—where the front tires lose grip and the car turns in a wider arc than you expect—ease off the gas. In a beat or two, the front tires should regain traction. Then aim where you want to go as your traction returns. For a rear-wheel skid—where the rear tires lose traction and you feel yourself beginning to spin out—quickly turn the steering wheel in the same direction that the rear is sliding. If, say, the rear is swinging to the left, turn the wheel to the left. Ease off the accelerator and stay off the brakes. As the rear wheels regain traction, steer back in the original direction.”
- Winter tires. We’ve heard it 100 times before, you need winter tires in Michigan. Proper winter tires provide far more traction in snow, slush, and on ice than even the best set of all-season tires. Definitely take some time to research and price these out if you haven’t done so yet.
- Don’t get too confident. You never, ever know how slick the ice is further down the road so it’s super important to always check your traction (not while other cars are around you) and always stay alert. Your vehicle already gives warning lights when needed from traction-control and stability-control systems and it’s your anti-lock-brake system that helps you determine how much grip you have on the icy and snowy roads. How? Make sure there are no cars close to you, then apply the brakes gently for a second or two while driving in a straight line. If you feel the brake pedal chattering but you’re not slowing down, the ABS system has activated and the roads are in fact very slick. If you can slow down at a reasonable rate without ABS activating, you’re on a less slippery surface.
As you head out in your travels, be sure you have the proper auto-insurance coverage. Check out our site at: https://pceinsurance.com/personal-insurance/auto-insurance/ and contact us today.