When I was a young driver I had this idea that accidents in the snow were no one’s fault. I really have no clue where this notion came from, considering I took my behind the wheel driver’s test in ten-feet of snow. I just thought that an accident on slippery snow covered roads, would be expected so therefore no one would be at fault. I guess, this might be how a teenager thinks, at least until they learn the hard way.
Just to make it real clear, when a driver has an accident in the snow–it isn’t God’s fault–and the same liability is present snow, ice, fog or rain when we belt ourselves in and turn on the car. In fact, we have more liability when the road conditions are poor. Not understanding how to drive on ice and taking proper precautions isn’t any one’s fault except that of the driver who thinks this excuse will get them off the hook.
- Tip #1 Learn how to handle your car:
Every car responds differently on icy and slippery roads, knowing how to handle your vehicle in various weather conditions is you responsibility as a driver. When the roads freeze up motorists should take time to practice slow-speed maneuvers on an empty snow or ice covered parking lot.
- Tip #2 Learn about your cars breaking system.
The owner’s manual should have information about the braking system, because not all braking systems are the same. It’s important to learn which type of brakes your vehicle uses and understand how to use them.
Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) offer the greatest advantage when driving on slick roads. But, only when used properly. If your car has ABS, it’s important to apply steady pressure to the brake pedal during the entire stop. ABS automatically pumps the brakes, when needed in order to help keep the wheels from locking. With ABS breaks never manually pump the brakes while driving for any reason.
With cars that don’t have ABS, a driver should gently apply pumping pressure to the brakes during slippery conditions. Never apply steady pressure to your brakes this may cause the wheels to lock, and result in the car spinning out of control.
- Tip #3 Learn what kind of Wheel Drive your car has.
Front wheel and four wheel drive vehicles handle better on slippery roads. One reason for this is that the weight of the engine is on the drive wheels, and this helps to improve traction.
Rear wheel vehicles are more difficult to handle because there is not as much weight on the rear wheels of most cars. Vehicles with rear wheel drive tend to slip from side to side especially during turns on slick roads. Placing heavy weight in the bed of the truck or trunk may help balance the weight of your car and helps to distribute it equally.
- Tip #4 Watch your distance
Driving on icy roads requires twice the distance to stop a moving vehicle. It is most important to steer and brake more slowly than normal. Maintaining a safe driving distance means allowing at least three car lengths between your car and the vehicle directly in front of you. Drivers should also use great caution when changing lanes and avoid cutting in front of another driver to closely especially when moving into a lane in front of a Semi truck.
- Tip #5 We can’t see the greatest risk of all.
Black ice is ice that remains on roads in spots that don’t receive any direct sunlight. Black ice is very common on roads that wind around lakes and rivers, in tunnels, on overpasses and bridges. Black ice is usually invisible, and may appear to be part of the road itself
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