How To Drive Safely During The Winter Season
As people become older, driving becomes more challenging. It can even more challenging during the winter. Slick, wet roads can begin to freeze quickly once the temperature begins to drop. This can cause roads and highways to become dangerous and icy. By taking the right precautions while on the road, a driver can safely navigate the road during the winter season.
The following are some of the top 4 winter driving tips that will prepare senior drivers for dealing with sleet, ice and snow covered roads.
1. Keep Your Eyes On The Road
It can be difficult enough for a driver to keep their eyes on the road when the weather is perfect, but it is even more important to stay focused when driving in winter weather.
If a driver is having problems seeing the road due to fog, rain, sleet or snow, it is best to wait it out if possible. Pull the vehicle to the right side of the road safely. Be sure the vehicle is not blocking traffic. Turn the emergency flashers on and wait until the visibility improves before proceeding.
2. Give Other Drivers Space
Sometimes referred to as a space cushion, it is critical to keep an adequate amount of space between one vehicle and the vehicle in front when driving during the winter.
On a clear and sunny day, it is recommended that drivers allow for 3 to 4 seconds as a normal distance rule. However, when driving in winter weather, the following distance should be increased by 8 to 10 seconds. By increasing the amount of space, it will be much easier to stop the vehicle if necessary.
3. Accelerate & Decelerate Gradually
Drivers should also accelerate and decelerate their vehicles slowly so they will be able to prevent skidding while maintaining traction. When roads are icy or slippery, it takes more time for a vehicle to slow down or come to a complete stop.
Slowly applying the gas is one of the best ways to regain traction, while braking slowly is the best way to prevent skids and accidents on the road.
4. Check Your Brakes
Whether a vehicle is equipped with an ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System) or not, drivers should always keep their heel on the floor and place the ball of their foot on the brake to apply steady and firm pressure to the brake pedal.
If a driver does not have to stop, don’t. There is a huge difference in how much inertia it requires to move a car from a full stop versus the amount it will take to get the car moving while it is rolling.
So, if the roads are icy or slippery and a driver can roll their vehicle without fully applying the brake, do so until the traffic light changes or the road is clear enough to continue driving.
Driving in winter weather can cause anxiety and fear in all drivers. If a person is driving in snow, sleet, ice or rain, remain calm.
If the vehicle hits a patch of ice, do not panic. A driver should never slam on the brakes because they could easily lose control of the vehicle. The only thing they can do is try to keep the vehicle going straight if possible. By keeping the vehicle straight, it will reduce the chance that the car will regain traction while it is sideways. This can subject the vehicle to a rollover.