How to Drive Safely in the Winter
Driving your car during the winter requires special care and attention. There are simple winter driving rules to consider so that you arrive at your destination comfortably as well as safely.
Here are five tips on how to drive safely in the winter:
1. Opt for winter tires
Winter tires operate differently than all-season tires. They have deep tread depths and patterns that offer better traction in the snow and ice. Winter tires are manufactured using a softer rubber. When temperatures plummet, your tires will remain soft and pliable. In addition, they also have biting or zig-zag edges that bring about a better grip on snowy or icy roads.
2. Brake and accelerate carefully on ice and snow
When braving snow-covered roads, leave a six to ten-second gap between your vehicle and the one up ahead. Always apply gentle pressure on the gas pedal and keep your speed at the required minimum. If you put too much pressure on the pedal, your wheels will lose traction, causing them to spin out of control. When braking, ensure you’re always scanning the landscape and road ahead. This will help minimize sudden braking. If you must halt, do so gently and smoothly.
3. Steer smoothly
When steering during icy and snowy conditions, avoid making quick movements with the wheel. Always look ahead in the direction where you want to go.
4. Select the best gear to drive in wintery conditions
An automatic transmission is good for traction control systems and being able to adjust to low traction levels. Some automatics also enable drivers to pick low gears (1-3) that give improved control over speed in the snow. A manual transmission enables better handling during winter since the driver can select gears in accordance with the terrain. It also provides smoother engagement and clutch release, helping to keep the vehicle in balance.
5. Focus on smooth inputs on hills
Irrespective of which transmission you have, when driving up and down on hills, make smooth inputs, i.e. cornering, braking, and accelerating. Sudden brake slamming or quick steering will cause your car to lose traction and leave it spinning out of control.