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Tips on Winter Driving

Winter is here and roads are icy. You will not find the same amount of traction on roads in these couple of months. In fact, you may find that it is only a small fraction of what you are used to. This means that you have to pay extra attention to the controls available – the steering wheel, accelerator, and brake pedal. It is always good to refresh your knowledge on how to prepare for the road before heading out for the day. Here are some tips on winter driving.

Increase following distance
Having extra distance between your car and the car ahead gives you extra time to react to hazards. It is always good to give yourself ample room to stop your car in case of emergencies. Increasing the following distance gives you three things: time, space, and greater vision.

Be gentle on the pedals
Accelerating: Step onto the accelerator gently. If you step hard or kick the accelerator pedal, you can easily get yourself in a wheelspin. Once you get your car rolling, you can increase pressure gradually on the pedal. Jerk movements may cause sliding and skidding and ultimately loss of control.

Braking: The logic above also applies to braking. Step gently on the brakes when you want to slow down or make a stop. Additionally, plan for it! Give yourself plenty of space to slow down gradually.

The first few seconds of contact to the pedals account the most for what happens after.

Smooth steering
The best way to prevent skidding or spinning is steering smoothly. Any quick and harsh movements can cause the tires to lose grip and to start slipping and sliding. Turn the steering wheel gently, do not steer too quickly or too much.

Perform each action separately
Do your best to separate each action: steering, accelerating, and braking. The key is in planning for each action. Give yourself the time and space necessary. If you can keep the actions separate, or as best as you can, the traction will be used for a single purpose, which gives the tires a greater probability of staying in control.

Have a safe winter season!

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