When you drive in the winter, you will have to be more aware of the roads and surroundings than you do other times of the year. Avoid driving while you’re fatigued. Getting the proper amount of rest before taking on winter weather tasks reduces driving risks. Also remember to never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage. Before you drive, make sure that the tires are properly inflated, and not over or under inflated. You will also want the gas tank to be at least half full. This helps to ensure your vehicle is ready to drive when you need it, and you have plenty of gas to reach your destination when driving in the winter. Another important thing when driving in the winter is not to use your cruise control if the roads or weather are anything less than ideal. If you drive on slick roads that are wet, ice, slush, or snow covered, you will want to slow down to a speed your are comfortable with, while also being able to control the vehicle.
If you become snow-bound, stay with your vehicle. It provides temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. Do not try to walk in a severe storm. It’s easy to lose sight of your vehicle in blowing snow and become lost. Don’t over exert yourself if you try to push or dig your vehicle out of the snow. You can also tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna or place a cloth at the top of a rolled up window to signal distress. At night, keep the dome light on if possible. It only uses a small amount of electricity and will make it easier for rescuers to find you. Make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow, ice or mud. A blocked exhaust could cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to leak into the passenger compartment with the engine running. Use whatever is available to insulate your body from the cold. This could include floor mats, newspapers or paper maps. And if it is possible, run the engine and heater just long enough to remove the chill and to conserve gasoline.
As you drive on poor roads, remember to accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight.. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal. No matter where you plan on driving, if the weather is poor, make sure to tell someone your route and time of arrival, incase there is an issue, they will know what roads you took.