How to Drive on Snow and Ice: Winter Driving Safety Tips

6
How to Drive on Snow and Ice: Winter Driving Safety Tips

Snow and ice on the road can make for a slippery drive home, and the snowflakes falling from the sky can limit your visibility, so it’s no wonder that there’s a definite increase in insurance claims once winter starts.

“Oh yes, there are many more accidents in the winter compared to the summer,” says Anne-Marie Thomas, an Insurance Expert at InsuranceHotline.com. “Many of them are avoidable too.”

It’s not hard to imagine a sense of overconfidence in many of today’s cars. With just about every car out there outfitted with stability control and ABS, many drivers begin to feel invincible when driving, even in the snow, especially when they have all-wheel drive. However, stability control and all-wheel drive do little to help when you need to brake.

“We see a mixture of claims, like multi-vehicle, and single vehicle collisions,” says Thomas, “But we see a lot of claims in regards to drivers getting rear-ended, or going off because they’re just not paying attention.”

She points out that the number one habit that winter drivers should be following is to drive according to weather conditions. “Check the weather information before you go out, be aware if there is going to be black-ice or lots of snow,” she says.

STAYING SAFE

A key point is to wipe the snow off your car. “Clear the snow and ice of your vehicle, not just the portholes, everything.” She points out that especially in the dark, you need your whole windshield. Having any part of your windows obscured by snow or ice is a serious risk. Clearing snow is a safety measure for other drivers too.

“You need to clear your whole car, blown snow off the roof of your vehicle can obstruct other drivers.”

It’s also advised for those who see snow to get dedicated winter tires. “Statistically winter tires can reduce your braking distance by 25 percent,” Thomas says.

She also mentions to check your tire pressure after cold nights. “Pressure drops in low temperature. You might not be able to steer, or brake as well you think.”

Finally, Thomas explains that it might be handy to have a winter-survival kit to be prepared if anything happens. Her suggestions are not too expensive, and include mostly around-the-house items: sand or cat litter for melting snow. For navigation, keep a compass handy. Some road flares let other motorists know where you are. Extra clothing helps if it gets too cold, along with mitts and socks. In case of a longer term mishap, matches and a candle might be helpful. Finally, keep a pencil and a notepad in your car in case you get into an accident, since pencils work fine in the cold, unlike pens where the ink might freeze or not flow.

Driving dynamics change dramatically in the snow and ice. It’s important to learn how to react to your car when you lose control.

“If you’re nervous about winter driving take a defensive driving course,” Thomas advises. Insurance companies won’t sympathize with you if you get into an accident in the winter, even you run into black ice, and couldn’t do anything. She warns, “A car accident can impact your insurance rate for up to six years.”

HOW TO STEER IN THE SNOW

So what exactly do winter driving courses teach to help you avoid an accident in the snow? As a professional drift racer, Max Pourier has an intimate knowledge of how to control a car at its limits and gave a rundown on the basics, first hand.

“It’s very similar, performance driving and driving in the winter,” he explains “You have to stay smooth and try not to upset the balance of the car.”

On a slippery skidpad Pourier shows us just what to do.

His first lesson was to show what happens to a car when it’s understeering.

He explains; “Understeer is when a car’s front tires lose traction during a turn and results in the car pushing forward.”

The car may start to shudder or shake if this happens, but the most frightening thing is the sense of no control as your car goes forward rather than turning.

“You have to go against your instinct of steering more,” says Pourier. “You can stay steady and allow the tire treads to catch up, or unwind the steering wheel a little bit.” Unwinding the steering, allows the tire-tread to align with the direction you want the car to go, and catch traction again.

Another scary bit of driving occurs when the rear wheels lose traction, something called oversteer. When turning, oversteer is quite dangerous because it can cause a car to do a complete spin.

As soon as oversteer is noticed, it’s recommended to counter-steer quickly but smoothly.

“You have to steer back in order to straighten out the car and point it the way you want it to go,” Pourier says. Since the front tires still have grip, you need to use them to your advantage and control the car.

Finally, he demonstrates the importance of winter tires, which are softer in colder temperatures, allowing them to have more grip than all-season or summer tires.

If there’s one important skill to come away with about winter driving, it’s that you should keep your cool. Panicking on the ice and snow isn’t going to help you stop or turn any quicker and can be dangerous. Be sure to drive according to winter conditions and plan ahead by buying a set of winter tires.

« Back
SWEEPSTAKES – OFFICIAL RULES, TERMS AND CONDITIONS

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.

1. NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPSTAKES. AGE/RESIDENCY RESTRICTIONS, VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked