5 Things You Should Never Do When Driving in Winter
Twice this week my driving almost got me into an accident. I was not being completely stupid, I just let clear roads trick me.
First, it was the extremely slippery ice on Monday that I did not have enough respect for and I narrowly missed a street light. Yesterday, it was wind and ice that had me wobbling on I-229.
It's probably coincidental, but I got a press release from AAA with some do's and don'ts of winter driving. I'm sticking mainly with these five things you should never do while driving in wintry conditions.
Normal following distances of three to four seconds on dry pavement should be extended to a minimum of five to six seconds when driving on slippery surfaces. The extra time will provide additional braking room should a sudden stop become necessary. Regardless of road conditions, tailgating is just evil and should never be done by anyone ever.
Use Cruise Control
If your vehicle hydroplanes or skids, you will lose the ability to regain some traction simply by lifting off the accelerator. It will be harder to recover from the loss of traction if cruise control is active.
Drive Fast Without Knowing How Your Vehicle is Handling the Road
Leave yourself ample room to stop. Accelerate, turn and brake as gradually and smoothly as you can. This is how I almost crashed yesterday. There weren't other cars around and I made the stupid assumption the roads were fine.
Mash Your Brakes
If your car begins to skid, continue to steer in the direction you want the car to go. Slamming on the brakes will only make your vehicle harder to control. Most cars have Anti-Lock Braking Systems (ABS) that pump your brakes repeatedly if you mash them. The ABS in my truck thankfully went out so I am able to stutter the braking manually.
Drive Like a Moron on Bridges
Black ice typically forms first in shaded areas of the roadway and on bridges and overpasses that freeze first and melt last. Although the road leading up to a bridge may be fine, the bridge itself could be a sheet of ice.