Winter weather is synonymous with snowball fights, sledding, and fireside relaxation. But when it’s time to run to the grocery store for hot chocolate, or make a trip for the holidays, sadly more than 116,800 people are injured in snowy, slushy or icy pavement every year.
Winter weather is fun to play in, but very dangerous to drive in. If you do need to brave the weather (emphasis on need), we have some tips that can help make the drive somewhat safer:
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
- Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
- Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
- Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible.
- Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.
- The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
- Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
- Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t.
And if all of your best efforts fail you, and you end up in a fender bender or other accident. You can repair or replace your vehicle at Beach Ford. Our service department is open 12 hours a day on weekdays, and from 8am-4pm on Saturdays. Or you can invest in a brand-new Ford F-150 or Ford Escape to deal with weather of all types.