As everyone knows, driving in the snow can be a dangerous experience. Here are a few tips to remember when you have to make your way through the pretty white stuff: when driving on newly fallen snow that hasn’t yet been plowed, try to drive in the ruts made by other vehicles, maintain a constant speed, and allow 2 to 3 times the normal driving distance between vehicles. When stopping on snow or ice, always adhere to caution – if your vehicle has anti-lock brakes, press down the brake pedal firmly. Otherwise, pump the brakes gently.
It’s happened to virtually all of us at one time or another: you trek out to your vehicle in the bitter winds of winter only to find you can’t get in because your locks are frozen stuck! One efficient way to thaw a frozen door lock is by heating your key with a match or lighter – use pliers to hold the key while heating. If you’re at home and you have close access to an electrical outlet, aim a hand-held hair dryer at the frozen lock. Or, spray lock de-icer into the key opening. To help prevent locks from freezing, periodically lubricate locks with an approved lock lubricant.
Winter driving has special dangers – longer hours of darkness, fog, rain, snow, sleet, and ice increase driving hazards. The safe driver prepares for them. Be sure your windshield washing fluid contains antifreeze. On very cold days, be careful when using windshield washers and wipers at high speeds. Even if the fluid contains antifreeze, the high wind chill can cause icing. And remember, even though snow tires offer better traction and help in starting and stopping, they won’t help on ice.
Here’s a winter auto tip: In the cold months of winter, regularly check your car and make sure that the battery cable connections are tight and that there is no corrosion on the terminals. In batteries where the fluid levels can be checked, make certain that fluid covers the battery plates. In order to prevent fuel lines from freezing, consider adding a commercial additive containing isopropyl alcohol to the gas tank when filling up before and during extremely cold weather. Most importantly, never attempt to jump start a weak car battery that has frozen because of extremely low temperatures.
The winter season often produces severe weather conditions, in turn causing dangerous driving conditions. To help avoid the dangers of bad weather, remember these tips: slow down when driving on snow and ice; allow three times the normal stopping distance; replace wiper blades; clean your windshield AND your headlights; and be sure to carry emergency supplies including jumper cables, flashlight, shovel, and even a sleeping bag.