If you are a new driver, and you have not yet had to drive winter conditions, you may feel a bit apprehensive about what to do if you need to go somewhere in inclement weather. Boning up on a few safety precautions help you in getting to your destination without incident. Driving in snow and ice is a bit challenging for any type of vehicle. Here are some tips to use in snowy weather to help keep you and other drivers safe.
Consider New Tires
Before winter begins, consider placing snow tires on your vehicle to help you when snowy and icy conditions arise. The grooves on the tread of the tires are made in a way that grip to the slick spots, making it more stable as a result. Alternatively, all-season tires will give your vehicle more gripping power than standard tires.
Gather Emergency Items
Place an emergency kit in your vehicle in case you become stranded. This should consist of a heavy blanket, boots, a warm coat, gloves, hat, money, flashlight, water and snacks. Having a sign to place in your window will also be beneficial if you need to walk for help. Alert others on the sign as to where you are walking and that you are in need of a tow truck so they can come to your aid and make the phone call for you. Have a bag of cat litter and pieces of cardboard inside your vehicle. The cat litter can be sprinkled under the tires in ice to try to gain traction. Putting a piece of cardboard in front of each tire will work in the same way.
Test Your Vehicle's Limits
Before you get too comfortable with the driving conditions, get used to the way your vehicle is handling by doing a check of your brakes at the first sign of snow. This will help you determine how much time you have to stop if roadways become slippery. Keep your vehicle at a safe distance from any vehicle in front of you. Having enough time to react to a slippery patch can save you and your vehicle from an unfortunate demise.
If your vehicle starts sliding, turn your steering wheel in the direction you are sliding rather in the opposite direction. This will help you gain your traction without having your vehicle fishtail or spin out.
Get Help If You Get Stuck
If you are unable to gain traction to get up an incline and you end up off the side of the road, or if your vehicle ends up in a snowbank due to sliding, you will need to do your best to free your vehicle so it does not become a hazard to others on the roadway. If your wheels keep spinning, stop trying to free your vehicle as you can ruin the tires as a result.
Calling a towing service may be necessary. The best place to wait for a tow is in your vehicle. If you are in a desolate area and need to walk away for help, place caution signs behind your vehicle or place a red flag in the window to signify that your vehicle cannot be moved without help.