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10 Winter Driving Tips to Keep You Safe This Winter

CK Law Review

This Winter has been the craziest we have seen in a long time. There is snow in states where there usually isn't, and even more snow in places that there usually is. No matter how much or how little snow there is on the ground, it is extremely important to take extreme caution when driving anywhere in the snow.

Here's a list of 10 tips for driving in inclement weather conditions.

1. Avoid using cruise control in rain or snow

While in cruise control, it is easy to lose control of your vehicle. If you begin hydroplaning while in cruise control, your vehicle will still try to keep its original speed, becoming very dangerous.  

2. Figure out the best way to recover from a skid for your vehicle

How your vehicle responds to a skid depends on whether or not it has rear wheel, front wheel or four wheel drive. If your vehicle has an anti-lock braking system (ABS), learn how to use it correctly. If you do hit a skid or begin hydroplaning, do not hit the brakes. This will make it worse. Stay calm and re-adjust yourself as well as possible.

3. Clear snow and ice from your vehicle

Even if you are in a rush it is important to clean all windows, mirrors, lights and the roof. Wait for any foggy windows to clear up so your visibility isn't poor while driving.

4. Keep your cell phone fully charged

It is important to have your phone charged before you leave to drive. If you get in an accident where not a lot of cars pass, you will want to have your phone handy to call for help.

5. Get winter tires

They provide better traction, handling and braking, and can shorten your braking distance by as much as 25 per cent. All-season tires are not the same as winter tires. They lose their grip when the temperature dips below 45 F (7 C).

6. Check weather and road conditions often

Choose the route you'll take ahead of time and check the weather forecast to make sure you know what to expect before you hit the road.

7. Give yourself extra time

Always leave earlier than usually needed when in bad road conditions. You will want to give yourself extra time so you are not stressed about being late and can drive slowly and safely.

8. Create a emergency kit

This kit should have anything you would want if your car broke down in the cold. Items may include, gloves, hat, snow brush, first aid kit, jumper cables, and non-perishable foods.

9. Turn your lights on

Even if it is day time, you should always have your vehicle lights on to increase your visibility to other motorists.

10. Keep your gas tank at least half full

Condensation occurs when colder water vapour comes into contact with a warmer surface.  This can happen in your gas tank, because there’s air in any space in your gas tank not occupied by gasoline. Gasoline is relatively slow to warm up, and will help keep the air cool.

Water can be drawn into the engine and lead to corrosion. If it’s cold enough, they can freeze in the fuel lines and prevent gasoline from reaching the engine. Your car could refuse to start or stall out.