Safe Driving in winter weather

A Driver not enjoying the winter weather

Clay Sohngen

A Driver not enjoying the winter weather

Cincinnati has faced a very surprising winter thus far, and yes I am talking about the weather. With bad weather inevitably comes bad driving, unfortunately. Winter weather is hands down THE worst weather to operate a vehicle. Snow and Ice can quickly become dangerous; add sub-zero temperatures and it can be a real nightmare to drive.

There are many simple and helpful tips many drivers do not know or fail to remember while driving in this winter weather.

1.)    Keep your gas tank at half full or above, or else there is potential to have a line freeze-up

2.)    DO NOT use cruise control under any circumstances when you may drive over a slippery surface such as ice or snow.

3.)    ALWAYS wear your seatbelt, although this should go without saying.

4.)    Do not power up hills in snow, your wheels will just spin. The best way is to just get some inertia leading up to a hill then add power on your way up.

5.)    Try your best to not have to make stops. I am not telling you all to go and run red lights, but it takes a lot of energy to stop a moving car, and can put a toll on your brakes in the winter weather.

6.)    Accelerate and Decelerate SLOWLY. We can all be speed demons and put the pedal to the metal sometimes, but now is the worst time. Applying the gas slowly is the best way to get the best traction possible, also the same goes for braking.

7.)    KNOW WHICH TYPES OF BRAKES YOUR CAR HAS. Whether your car has anti-lock brakes or not, it is not ideal to slam on the brakes at all. A method called “threshold braking” works the best, it is when you keep the heel of your foot on the floor of the car, and use the ball of the foot to apply more firm and steady pressure to the brake.

8.)    Check your tires. Never mix radial tires with other types of tires, and always make sure before winter hits that the pressure in all of your tires is satisfactory and ready to handle what mother nature is about to dish out. Tires are EVERYTHING for driving in winter weather.

9.)    Make sure your car is wiped off and ready to go. Do a thorough job when scraping the windshield and windows, it is more important than one may think. You should have COMPLETE vision of the road, not just enough to see right in front of you at the moment.

10.) Bridges and less traveled roads should be avoided. These roads will freeze first most of the time, and will take the longest to get back to normal.

11.) Wear shoes with traction. You don’t want to have your foot slipping off of the gas pedal and your brakes the whole ride, and it actually could possibly cause an accident.

12.) Steer the wheels in the direction you want the FRONT tires to go. If your rear wheels are sliding to the left, steer to the left, and also if they are sliding to the right, steer right.

13.) Drive slower than usual. This is very obvious, snow and ice are dangerous conditions, and driving slower means that one will be more cautious of his or her surroundings.

14.) Use the dry spots as your friend. The dry spots are a sign from God himself that you need to use them to slow down or speed up, these are gimmicks on the road and should be used to your advantage.

15.) Invest in some four-wheel drive. Jeeps of all kinds do well in the snow, and most of the owners have absolutely no complaints of his or her jeep not performing well in the snow.

Senior  Andrew Price  knows many things about cars, and also driving safely in these terrible conditions.

“It is always best to stop 10 feet early rather than 10 feet too late”, Price said. Andrew also advises the purchase of cat litter to put under tires to create more traction. “THROW THE CELL PHONE IN THE BACK SEAT AND TURN IT OFF,” Price exclaimed. He also suggests driving with the radio off to be able to hear what is going on under the car.

Winter weather will always be tricky to drive in, but won’t be nearly as tricky or dangerous with these simple but crucial tips for driving in these conditions.