SnowPlow4 I can tell from the fact that my car isn’t quite gripping the road like it does in the summer months that winter is upon us. Snow, ice, sleet and rain cause us to slip, slide and sometimes bump into things we would rather not. As you head out on the roads this winter, we have some tips that will keep you safe and out of the ditch.

1. Know your conditions – We often day dream and go into automatic pilot mode while driving. This causes some of our biggest problems because if we aren’t conscious of the environmental conditions that require us to have longer reaction times. When that happens, it is often too late to make corrections.

2. Allow a much longer breaking distance – It is important to always allow a much longer distance breaking, especially in the snow and ice and even more so when braking on a downhill slope.

roadwithsnow13. Accelerate slowly – When starting off at the light, it is important to accelerate your vehicle slowly to prevent the wheels spinning.

4. Know how to correct a slide – The first thing to do when your car starts sliding is to take your foot off the accelerator. The next thing is to turn your steering wheel the same directions as the slide.

5. Don’t let your big vehicle give you a sense of false security – This happens to a lot of new 4-wheel drive car and truck owners. 4-Wheel drive will help you get out of the snow and muck, but it doesn’t do anything for stopping.

6. SLOW DOWN! We have all heard that speed kills. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen someone whip by me during a huge snow storm only to see them in the ditch minutes later down the road. Just slow down and get to your destination safely. You may be 5 minutes late, but it’s better than being 2 hours late and having a hefty increase in your auto insurance rates.

For more winter driving tips, check out the Car Talk blog.