Have you ever driven down the road during or after the first snowfall of the year and seen an unusual amount of vehicles in the ditch, or tire tracks where vehicles used to be before the tow truck arrived? When you see all of these vehicles, are you perplexed and wondering how so many drivers could lose control during a minor snowfall? Maybe you were one of the unfortunates who ended up in the ditch and are questioning your driving abilities.
Whether you can relate better to looking at the vehicles in the ditch or being in the ditch, it’s an interesting dilemma that seasoned winter drivers face every year.
Winter driving reminders
Winter in Covington, Kentucky, and the surrounding areas may not be blizzard central, but the area still averages 14 inches of snow per season, which is why the phenomenon is so interesting.
One reason seems to be that a driver’s reaction time and driving habits are still in summer/fall mode, and are unprepared for suddenly slick roadways and the increased time it takes to come to a complete stop. According to research conducted by The Zebra, a vehicle insurance comparison marketplace, it takes most vehicles 10 times longer to come to a full stop on wintry roads.
To increase your chances of not sliding off the road, rear-ending someone at a stoplight, or worse, consider the following winter drive-time reminders.
- To drive or not to drive: Avoid driving in snowy, icy and slick conditions unless necessary.
- Limit your speed: Due to the time it takes you to brake when driving in the winter, lower your speed and don’t feel embarrassed as many other drivers will be doing the same. You may see the ones that zoom by you later on – in the ditch.
- Increase your following distance: This is another tip because of longer stoppage times. Increasing the distance between the vehicle in front of you allows you an extra few seconds to come to a complete stop.
- Steady pressure: Braking hard in any weather can cause an accident, but braking hard on slick roads is especially dangerous. Sudden braking can lead to tailspin, flipped cars, slamming into the vehicle in front of you or getting rear-ended by the vehicle behind you. To avoid these situations, apply steady pressure to your brake with the ball of your foot while keeping your heel firmly planted on the floor.
- Chill on the hill: Countless drivers have experienced issues driving up a steep and icy incline. Too often do drivers try to power up and end with spinning wheels going nowhere. To have a better shot of reaching the steep road’s plateau, gain a little speed, and slowly make your way up the hill and don’t stop. Also, enact your 4-wheel drive (if you have it).
If you don’t want to be stuck at home when it snows, heed these reminders for a safe and comfortable winter drive.