As a veteran of Minnesota winters, you know that the roads can be hazardous as ice and snow begins to accumulate. And as conditions deteriorate, the risk of vehicular mishaps increases.
When driving in the winter, it’s crucial to adjust to the icy and snowy conditions. Doing so will greatly lessen your chances of ending up in motor vehicle accidents.
Prevention is the best defense
The danger when driving in winter conditions is losing control of your vehicle. And the best way to stay safe and avoid car accidents is to avoid slipping in the first place.
Two key points are your best defense: Be proactive about looking for hazards or circumstances that require your action as a driver, and prioritize driving as smoothly as possible. Following that guideline increases your chances of remaining in control of your vehicle.
You should always look as far ahead as possible when driving in ice and snow. In ideal conditions, you can count on making short-notice maneuvers or braking. But when the road surface is treacherous, you need to plan.
And when maneuvering your vehicle, everything should be as smooth as possible. Gradual turning, measured acceleration and gentle braking all increase your chance of avoiding slips and loss of traction.
Remain calm if sliding
Even with the best prevention, you may still find yourself losing control. This isn’t the end of the world, as long as you keep your head and make the right choices after it happens.
Your first instinct might be to jam on the brakes, but that’s not usually the wisest course. Instead, take your foot off the accelerator and turn into the direction of the skid. This will hopefully allow your tires to re-grip the road surface, at which point you can gently steer back into alignment. And if you’re out of control and need to stop as quickly as possible, use your anti-lock brakes as a last resort. Push down on the brake pedal and don’t let up.
Driving in ice and snow can be treacherous, especially if unprepared. Having a plan, driving carefully, and knowing what to do if you lose control, will help keep you safe this winter.