Nobody wants to slip and slide on icy winter roads. Here's some tips on how to best avoid a fender bender or worse during severe winter weather.
First of all slow down. Driving too fast is the main cause of accidents in winter conditions. Accelerate gently yet progressively keeping engine revs low in slippery conditions. When you aggressively accelerate you will break traction resulting in wheel spin that will take you in the direction you don't want.
Use the highest practical gear at all times. Typically that's the second gear especially when trying to climb icy and snowy hills.
Avoid using your cruise control. Using your vehicles cruise control can cause your vehicle to hydroplane if you hit a patch of ice. The cruise control will rapidly accelerate the vehicle on ice and spin the wheels of your tyres causing you to lose control.
The next tip is to drive smoothly and avoid any sudden changes in steering, this will conserve your tyres grip on the winter surfaces and make the most out of the traction which is the key to winter driving.
Remember, just because you may be driving a four-wheel-drive car doesn't mean it will help you grip the surface.
When braking, brake gently and avoid braking on corners if your vehicle does not have an antilock brake system. Ease off the brakes in order to steer to avoid locking your wheels. If you have an ABS system you will be able to feel the pulsing sensation in the brake pedal when it is activated, if this has occurred do not pump the brakes but keep firm pressure on the brake for maximum effectiveness.
Remember ABS is a reactive system so you will have to be in a certain amount of trouble before it will operate so it's best to drive on ice and snow correctly in order to avoid problems.
The next tip is to keep your distance. This is sometimes difficult during freeway driving. Tailgating so often leads to accidents in winter conditions even at 40 miles an hour. In icy conditions it will take you almost 170 feet to stop completely so make sure you provide proper distance between yourself and other vehicles at junctions and any other hazards that you may encounter.
The last tip is the most important in keeping you safe while in winter weather and that is to listen to your instincts. Try and stay indoors if you can and only drive if you must. Pullover if necessary and don’t force yourself into a situation you’re not comfortable with.
Hopefully these tips will help you avoid an accident in winter weather. Drive safe