With the recent deluge of snow that Ontario drivers have had to endure over the winter driving period, many motorists have faced a variety of driving conditions that have made traveling on Ontario’s road very dangerous and prone to causing serious auto accidents.
With this in mind and in the interest of driver safety we’d like to take a moment and list the Top 5 skills that most drivers can use to help them drive more safely in snowy conditions.
The list consists of:
1) Use Finesse
It’s important to remember that snow is a moveable object that is on top of a slippery surface. When a vehicle is traveling on that snow, even the slightest movement of the steering wheel can cause an unexpected reaction as the vehicle respond to that action.
With this in mind, by using a light foot on the throttle and gentle steering actions, you can help to minimize any unwanted vehicle movements.
2) Use Your Gears
In heavy snow or bad conditions, torque is more important that pure horsepower.
Many drivers often just put their automatic vehicle in “D” and expect the transmission to do all the work for them. While this is often acceptable for normal driving conditions, in inclement weather, by using a lower gear it can help to give your vehicle more traction.
In fact, Ford Motor Co. advises it’s customers that the “D” in their transmission selector is in fact, a high gear overdrive, that is designed for maximum fuel efficiency on dry pavement.
3) Correct Driving Technique
When trying to stop a skid, the required action is actually counter-intuitive. As a vehicle skids, it loses traction as the tires fail to grip the roadway and in these instances, braking does not increase grip.
According to Edmunds.com, to alleviate this, the driver needs to GENTLY press the accelerator and steer into the direction of the skid. In most cases, the wheels will grab and enable you to regain control of the vehicle.
It’s VERY IMPORTANT to note that for this to be effective, there must be sufficient room on the roadway to control the skid and that this technique should be practiced under the supervision of a professional driving instructor at an approved facility.
4) Check Your Brakes
Most vehicles on the market today offer ABS (anti-lock braking systems). These systems can be very helpful in most driving conditions and can help when making a sudden stop in the snow.
However, water, packed snow and other moisture can often lessen the ability of the braking components to function correctly. Therefore, when there are no drivers behind you, it’s a good idea to slowly pulse your brakes from time to time to ensure that the brake pads are at a safe operating temperature and ready to perform their task if required.
5) Look Ahead
Pilots are often trained to fly miles ahead of their current location. This gives them the opportunity to see if they may need to take evasive action BEFORE getting into a difficult situation. This principle can also be used for snow and wet weather driving.
While still paying attention to your immediate environment, by looking further down the road ahead, drivers can see if there may be other obstacles in their path and have enough time to make an informed decision and react accordingly.
In closing, it’s important to note that in some circumstances, the conditions are just too difficult to keep control of your vehicle sliding on black ice is an example of this type of condition. Therefore, if you are experiencing especially bad weather conditions, it is always a wise choice to try and stay at home and avoid being on the roads altogether.