Common Mistakes People Make While Driving in the Snow
By: Good2GoPublished: December 28, 2016
If you live in state with a colder climate, then there’s a good chance you learned how to drive in the snow at an early age – whether you were taught by someone or had to learn on the fly. Transplants and people living near milder weather seem to think driving in the snow is a simple task. However, driving in the snow takes skill, patience, and practice. Every winter, more than 116,000 Americans are injured and over 1,300 are killed on snowy, slushy, or icy pavement.1 Help make the roads safer by reading about a few common errors people make when driving in snowy or icy conditions.
Adjusting Your Speed
It’s important to adjust your speed appropriately for the current weather condition. Snow and ice make roads slick, making it easy to lose control of the vehicle if you’re driving too fast. Keep in mind that speed limits were designed for ideal road conditions when the weather is clear and dry. Just because a road may seem clear doesn’t mean that there isn’t black ice. Always take caution to avoid skidding out of control.
Tailgating the Car in Front of You
Leave enough space between you and the driver in front of you. Braking in snow or ice takes four to ten times longer than average, meaning you’ll need more space to come to a complete stop. If you leave ample room, you won’t have to concentrate as hard on the driver in front of you. You should always be looking well ahead into the road for anything that could cause a potential issue, like a fallen branch or animal.
Relying on Four-Wheel Drive
Although cars with four-wheel drive usually drive more efficiently in ice and snow, remember that four-wheel helps you to get started, but not to stop. It’s still important to brake gently, steer smoothly, and accelerate as needed. Most of the traction in a skid comes from the interaction between the road and your tires, which is completely unrelated to speed. If you live in an area where it frequently snows, consider investing in tires designed for wintry conditions.
Wearing the Wrong Clothes
Most of us try to layer as much as possible in the winter to stay warm. However, our bulky snow boots and large puffy jackets can hinder our driving ability. When something is wrong with your car, you can usually feel some type of vibration. If you’re bundled up, you might not be able to feel any type of vibration that might indicate car troubles. Consider keeping a pair of sneakers and a lighter jacket in your car to change into before you drive.
Not Being Prepared
Hopefully you won’t have an accident, but unfortunately they do happen. In the event you do find yourself in an accident, being prepared will help you stress less and recover quickly. If you’re broken down, try to run the engine for about 10 minutes every hour to stay warm. Your car is the safest and warmest place you can be. Keep an emergency kit with first-aid supplies, a blanket, flashlight, bottled water, booster cables, batteries, and flares just in case. You might also want to consider keeping a small snow shovel in your trunk, and an extra pair of boots in case you need to get out and push.
Although driving in snow or ice is stressful, you can do yourself a favor by simply being prepared in case of an emergency. If something does happen, it helps to know you have the car insurance you need. Get a free, no-obligation quote today from www.good2go.com in less than a minute, and sometimes for as little as low as $20 down.
1 U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration