These figures are alarming, particularly when you consider that 70% of America’s roads exist in places where the temperature regularly drops below freezing during the winter. Most drivers will have to drive on dangerous roads at some point each winter. Even drivers in Southern states where it rarely freezes may encounter snow and ice because of a freak storm or because they take a road trip north. Everybody needs to know the next car and truck driving tips in winter conditions.
No one should ever expect to drive in perfect conditions all the time. Likewise, everyone should know how to drive safely when there’s snow in the air, ice on the road, or fog on the horizon. Keep yourself, your passengers, and your vehicle safe by following these winter car and truck driving tips compiled by the transport experts at Direct Express Auto Transport:
Be Good To Your Tires
Your tires can make winter driving a lot easier or a lot harder. If possible, use tires specifically made for driving in snow and ice. They offer extra grip to keep you from sliding around the road. At the start of the winter season, inspect your tires for signs of wear and tear (or have a professional do it for you). That is a great time to replace old tires – even if you don’t replace them with special winter tires – and start the winter with something new. At the very least, watch your tire pressure – under-inflated tires don’t perform as well in slippery conditions.
Avoid Cruise Control
Cruise control can be a great feature, especially on a long drive, but it only makes driving more dangerous in the winter. You might encounter ice on the road or a sudden snow shower without warning. Or there could be an accident caused by winter weather or a traffic slowdown that appears out of nowhere. Winter travel requires dynamic driving in many cases. You need to slow down quickly and vary your speed all the time. For that reason, it’s safer to leave cruise control off and keep your foot on the gas or brakes.
Take the Essentials
Even with preparation and defensive driving, there’s no way to guarantee safe passage on winter roads. As the stats above demonstrated, accidents are more common in winter, and you could also end up stranded because of bad traffic or impassable roads. That’s why it’s essential to take some precautions before you leave the house for any extended winter drive.
Ensure your car has at least half of a gas tank so that fuel issues don’t leave you stranded in the cold. But don’t assume you won’t get stranded – pack a winter travel kit with essentials like blankets, food, water, flashlights, glass scrapers, windshield wiper fluid, warm clothes, and first aid supplies. You can keep a frustrating situation from getting worse (and more dangerous) by keeping this kit in your car throughout the winter months.
We mentioned earlier that driving on ice or snow requires dynamic control of your speed. In general, though, you always want to drive slower in wintery conditions, regardless of what the speed limit says. Go more gradually on the highways and residential streets. Follow this rule even if the roads appear clear and dry, especially if they have visible snow or ice on them. Preventing your car from slipping and sliding is always better than trying to correct these problems once they start.
Maintain More Distance
You want to go slow because it takes your car significantly longer to stop when the roads are slick. Even if you press hard on the brakes, your car can’t get enough traction to stop as fast as normal. Travel five to six seconds behind the car in front of you, especially in bad weather. That should give you enough time to stop if you suddenly see brake lights ahead of you. Extra stopping distance can also help you avoid hitting another car if you start slipping on the pavement. Try to give a wide berth to every other car on the road.
Too much gas too quickly can cause your tires to slip out on frozen roads. When the stoplight changes to green, apply the gas in a slow, steady manner, and don’t expect to come up to full speed as quickly as you usually would. The same goes if you have to reduce your pace on the highway – don’t hurry to speed up again because it could accidentally cause your tires to lose traction.
Correct Your Slide
If and when your tires start to slide in a way you didn’t expect, don’t panic. Take your foot off the accelerator, and resist slamming on the brakes. Instead, hover your foot over the brake pedal while turning the steering wheel toward the slide. Turning into the slide helps your tires regain traction, at which point you can apply brake pressure gently. Your driver’s instincts will want you to keep the car pointing in the direction of travel, but it puts you and other drivers at risk if you turn against the slide because you could completely lose control of the car. Remember, being in a minor traffic accident is better than a major one. Turning into the slide could mean the difference.
Don’t Overestimate Your Vehicle
You could drive a pickup or SUV with four-wheel drive, a crossover with all-wheel drive, or a make/model that promises superior traction control. These are all great features to have, and they can come in handy when driving in snow or navigating around patches of ice.
But they don’t make your vehicle immune to the hazards of driving in the winter. Anyone who’s gone through a winter storm before has probably seen large trucks on the side of the road. These and other vehicles that offer extra traction may be more capable in the snow or ice, but they’re not any better at coming to a stop quickly. The point is, no matter what you drive, drive carefully. How you go in the winter weather matters a lot more than what you drive.
An Alternative to Winter Driving
Just because you know how to drive in the snow doesn’t mean you want to. Even in the best of conditions, when the weather forecast and the roadways are clear, winter driving can sound less than appealing. It would be best to deal with a cold car cabin, dry air, salt everywhere, and extra stress on your car. There’s a reason most people take road trips in the spring or summer.
If you need to get your vehicle from one place to another – because you’re moving, going on an extended vacation, headed off to college, or getting a car to a friend, family member, or buyer – you don’t have to drive it there yourself. Car shipping is also an option. And in the winter, it’s often the better option.
When you ship a car, you arrange for a vehicle hauler to pick it up somewhere close to your location and load it onto the back of a vehicle trailer (or into an enclosed trailer for maximum safety). The professional driver then transports your vehicle to your destination – whether across the state or country – and drops it off wherever you want. You save time, your vehicle saves miles, and you don’t have to worry about driving on ice or snow.
If vehicle shipping sounds better than a winter-weather road trip, Direct Express Auto Transport makes it easy to arrange a pickup.
The Original Car Shipping Quote Calculator
Direct Express Auto Transport originated the instant car shipping quote calculator in 2004. It is still the best, most sophisticated, reliable tool available anywhere online. We offer three options that we call tiers of car shipping estimates. The standard rate is the cheapest car shipping quote, but it may take longer. Use it if you are patient. We recommend the expedited car shipping rate and have countless satisfied customers because the shipping process tends to go quicker.