Winter is here and could impair your normally easy drives around town. You’ll find, however, that your car is able to handle most inclement weather situations, as long as you know what to do behind the wheel.
1. Slow Down
Speed limits are set according to a specific road’s safest driving speed on an average day. An ice-snow-rain sandwich on the road surface does not appear on an average day. Therefore, it’s important to slow down in poor weather conditions, even if you have to drive below the speed limit.
2. Tap the Brakes
Many newer cars are equipped with anti-lock braking systems, or ABS. This is a computerized system that applies the brakes in a rapid on-off pattern, which means your wheels will still slow down in slick situations without locking up and sliding all over the road. But if you do find that your car is sliding and it is not equipped with ABS, you can simulate this by tapping on the brake pedal in the same, rapid, on-off pattern. This is difficult, because if you need to stop suddenly, your impulse will be to slam on the brakes. Don’t do this. You will usually lose control of your vehicle and will risk an accident.
3. Feather the Gas
A counterpart to tapping the brakes, feathering the gas will increase your traction in slick conditions. This involves pushing the gas pedal in a quick series of individual taps. When you immediately put too much power your wheels, they can spin on slick surfaces, causing you to slide. Feathering the gas comes in handy when you need to turn or change lanes suddenly on slick surfaces.
4. Steer Into the Slide
Combined with the aforementioned gas feathering, steering into the slide is a safe way to correct your course if your car does start to slide. To do this, take note of which direction the back of your car is going and steer the opposite direction. So, if your car begins to slide perpendicular to the road to the right, turn the wheel to the left while feathering the gas. Just remember to keep the front wheels aiming forward, even if the rest of your car is not.
5. Keep Weight Over the Drive Wheels
Most cars on the road are front-wheel-drive and front-engine. However, some cars and most trucks, vans, and SUVs are rear-wheel-drive. In slippery situations, it is important to make sure the drive wheels are weighted down. While the engine fills this need in most cars, sandbags in your trunk or truck bed will suffice in your rear-wheel-drive car or truck.
Britney Baker is a freelance blogger who usually writes about getting the best auto insurance comparison over at Auto Insurance Comparison .org.
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