Whether you're heading to the mountains or just thinking about the next time snow blankets the lowlands, you'll want to know these top-five snow driving tips:
- Skip the skid. Slow down … way down. Even if you have winter tires or 4WD, ignore posted speed limits. They're too fast for icy, slushy, or even rain-slickened road surfaces. If your car does start to slide, ease off the brake or accelerator and gently turn your wheel in the direction you want the front of the car to go. For example, if your rear tires are sliding right and pushing the front of the car to the left, steer to the right. (Sometimes you hear it called "steering into a slide.") Once the car has started to respond and the front is nearly centered again, gently straighten the wheel so you don't inadvertently overcorrect and send the car sliding in the opposite direction!
- Increase following distances and brake gently. Contrary to snow-driving lore, hard braking won't "jolt" your car out of a slide. It's more likely to land you in the ditch.
- Favor the flat. Even if it adds a bit of distance, choose routes without hills that could leave your wheels spinning, especially if you get stopped mid-hill at a red light.
- Fill your gas tank. You'll be glad you did if you're caught for hours in a snow-snarled commute. Pack winter emergency essentials like extra food, prescription medicine and warm clothing and boots. Carry tire chains and make sure you know how to put them on.
- Postpone if you can.Your drive will be better if you can wait until the sun is up, sanding crews have made it to your neighborhood and other traffic has worn away some of the snow.
And if all that fails and you still get stuck? Stay with your car and call our roadside assistance number for help unless you're certain it's safer to leave (considering your clothing, physical fitness, distance to help and the risk your stuck car could be hit with you inside). If you leave, here's how to secure your car.
Wishing you safe travels!
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