Wintertime is here once again, which means drivers have to shift their habits to winter driving mode. What exactly does that mean?

Drivers should:

  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. When you rev the engine, the tires will move quicker and have less traction with the road. Similarly, if you brake too quickly, you can lose traction and start to slide.
  • Increase your following distance. When the road conditions are bad, an increased following distance may be the thing between you stopping in time or getting in an accident. Instead of the usual 3 seconds, aim for 5 to 6 between you and the car in front of you.
  • Avoid a full stop if possible. It’s much easier to avoid getting stuck on a snowy or icy road if you have some inertia behind your vehicle. If you’re coming up to a stop sign, for example, try to roll up slow enough that you can keep some force behind your car when it’s your turn.
  • Do not power up hills. Similar to the previous tip, avoid tackling a hill after a full stop and do not try to quickly accelerate up it. The best course of action is to get a little inertia behind you so you can keep a steady pace as you move up the hill. Accelerating too quickly during that will cause your tires to lose traction.
  • Drive slowly. Even if you have 4-wheel drive, an icy or snowy road can send your vehicle in the ditch. Driving slower will help you maintain control even if you start drifting.
  • Never use cruise control. If road conditions aren’t ideal, you want to have full control at all times—even if you’re driving on a deserted highway.
  • If you feel your car drifting or skidding, do not slam on the brakes. Take your foot off the petal to slowly decelerate and pump the brakes to help it slow down further. Steer straight and avoid any sudden movement on the wheel.

Overall, if you get into an accident, try to steer your car onto the shoulder to avoid any additional collisions. Bad road conditions and a blocked lane could easily lead to another accident, and those can be more dangerous since it’s a moving object hitting a stopped one.

Superior Collision Center is located in Eagan, MN and prepared to expertly handle your auto body needs after an accident.