Safe Driving Tips: Ice and Snow
Among all the weather conditions that frighten drivers the most, snow and ice have to be the most terrifying of all. A road caked in snow and a layer of potential black ice lurking underneath waiting to shock you as you speed up on the newly “cleared” road — it’s not a good time for inspiring confidence in drivers. Did you know that Toledo gets, on average, 31 inches of snow each year? That’s 3 inches over the national average. The best policy on snowy and icy days is just to stay at home and wait out the storm. Sometimes, however, that’s not an option. The kids’ school run won’t wait forever, nor will the trips to the grocery store or to pick up elderly relatives who rely on your help. On those days, you can follow our tips below, all designed to keep you safe on snowy and icy roads.
- Go easy on the gas and the brakes
Hitting the gas too hard when it’s snowy and icy out will just make your wheels spin out of control. A hard brake could send you into a skid that you can’t easily (or at all) recover from. The trick when driving on snow and ice is to rely on your momentum and hit the gas and brake pedals more gently — more of a gently push then a “hit.”
- Increase following distances
If your typical following distance is 1-2 car lengths from the car in front, then you’ll need to double it in snowy conditions. There’s nothing like winter weather for boosting the frequency of fender benders.
- Reduce your overall speed and extend journey times
Take your speed down by at least 10mph (20mph on highways) in winter conditions. A snow-caked or icy road is impossible to drive down at your regular speeds, or even the designated speed limit. Slow down and stay safe. This means giving yourself more time to complete your weekly journeys. Set off earlier, don’t leave yourself in a hurry.
- Avoid unnecessary risks
As we mention in point 3, leaving late means you are in a hurry. That situation immediately puts you and your passengers in danger as you’ll have to brave the icy roads at speeds possibly faster than you normally would dare because you have to be somewhere at a certain time. Another unnecessary risk would be to take the car out at all when there’s a blizzard out and all you’re planning on doing is a trip to the grocery store or yoga. Both can wait.
No trip is worth risking your safety or that of your family or other passengers. Talk to your local dealership mechanic about other tools and tips for improving your driving in snow. We’re always on hand to help!