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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Chmielewski

5 Tips for Driving in Winter Weather

Between snow, sleet and black ice, the roads can turn treacherous in winter. Still, it’s not always possible to stay home. You may need to get to work or run out for some much-needed groceries.

If you have to drive when conditions are bad, follow the tips below to stay safe.

1. Check Your Tire Tread Depth

One common cause of winter accidents is inadequate tire tread. Tires are no longer safe and need to be replaced once the tread wears down to 2/32 of an inch. If you don’t replace bald tires, your chances of losing control in icy conditions increases.

If you want the best traction, consider investing in winter or all-season tires. All-season tires are most effective in deep snow, while all-season options can handle shallow snow and mud.

2. Top Off Your Windshield Wiper Fluid

Most municipalities dump salt on the roads to melt ice. While driving, this salt — and other debris — gets kicked up onto your windows, leaving behind a dusty layer. If you’re out of windshield wiper fluid, it can become almost impossible to see.

Before you hit the road, check your fluid levels. If you need to buy more wiper fluid, be sure to get a product that won’t freeze when the temperature drops.

3. Increase Your Following Distance

Did you know that 17% of all vehicle crashes happen during winter conditions? It’s true. That’s because many people tend to drive like they would in normal circumstances, forgetting to leave more space between their car and others on the road.

When you’re driving in traffic, increase your typical following distance to 8 to 10 seconds. And, if you notice cars braking ahead, slowly apply your own.

4. Accelerate and Decelerate Slowly

If you stomp on the gas, your car may lose traction and start to skid. Instead, when you need to gain speed, ease onto the accelerator slowly.

The same goes for braking, too. If you need to come to a stop, push the pedal down slowly. If you need to stop quickly, pump the brakes instead of stamping down hard.

5. Don’t Panic if You Start to Skid

When conditions are bad, you may lose control of your car and start to skid. Don’t panic! If you keep a level head, it’s possible to regain control and stay on the road.

If your rear wheels lock up, take your foot off the gas, turn the steering wheel in the direction you want your front wheels to go and gently pump your brakes. If your front wheels lock up, take your foot off the accelerator, shift into neutral and steer the vehicle as it slows down.

Stay Safe While Driving This Winter

One of the best ways to stay safe this winter is to stay off the roads when conditions are bad. However, it’s not always that easy. If you have to get to work or pick up your kids from school, driving may be necessary. To keep yourself and everyone else safe, follow the tips above.

If you haven’t had a chance to winterize your vehicle this season, give us a call at 570-546-2641. From topping off fluids to putting on new tires, we can ensure your car is ready to go.


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