5 Winter Driving Tips

By Jesse Sokolow on 8 December 2015
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DSC_0630With fall gone and Christmas just around the corner, the country is gearing up for another snowy winter. We’ve already received a taste of what Mother Nature can do in terms of storms this year, and there are actions you can take to ensure you are ahead of the curve for driving in inclement weather.

Here are five tips for safer winter driving.

1.) Winter tires
Make sure to have winter tires (which used to be called “snow tires”) fitted to your car. They make for significantly better performance in snowy conditions than all-season tires, and are necessary for those cars with summer/performance tires. Additionally, be sure to check tire inflation regularly, as cold temperatures will reduce tire pressure.

2.) Raise windshield wipers when parking outdoors
Raising your wipers away from the glass allows you to clean your windshield without the blades being in the way. It also prevents them from sticking to the windshield and may prevent damage to the wiper motor, which could burn out from trying to move the blades when encountering resistance from ice and snow accumulation.

3.) When driving
Avoid using cruise control on slippery surfaces. These include ice, wet leaves, rain, sleet, and even sand. In wintertime, things happen suddenly and without warning so allow for changing conditions, and be sure to accelerate and decelerate slowly. Keep in mind that slowing down on ice and slush takes longer. If you begin to skid, look and steer in the direction you want to go (i.e. steer into the skid). Finally, don’t stop when driving up a hill, as you might not make it up all the way and may find yourself in an uncontrollable slide back down the hill.

4.) Unfreeze your lock
If your lock is frozen and your car uses a metal key (a rarity these days), try using a lighter to warm the key before inserting it into the lock.

5.) In case you get stuck
Make sure you have supplies, i.e. snacks, water, medications, blankets, gloves, shovel, and an ice scraper. If you do get stuck, call for help immediately, stay off of the road, preferably in the vehicle, and await the arrival of assistance.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)