Tips for driving in the snow and ice

If you don’t have to drive in the snow, please don’t. But if you must, this is the best way to stay safe.

SEATTLE — When it comes to snow in western Washington, we’ve got a bit of a stigma. Either people are too scared to drive because they don’t know how to navigate the snow and ice, or they think they know how to drive in it but in fact they don’t.

It’s not surprising. We usually don’t get enough snow to affect driving conditions. But icy roads are possible with or without snow.

Regardless of your experience, if you cause a collision, insurance companies will not be able to forgive just because the road is slippery. So your best defense is knowing how to drive in the field.

Here are some basic tips:

Give yourself more time: You can prepare for driving in the snow before you even get in the car. Before you leave, clear the snow and ice from your vehicle and know more than one route to your destination in case one is closed.

See more | 5 steps to winterizing your car

Slow down: This goes without saying, but you still see people trying to run at 60 mph when the temperature is below freezing on wet roads.

“Pay attention, leave space, and don’t drive too fast,” says Jordan Cassidy, an instructor at the Seattle University Campus Defensive Driving School.

Increase your following distance: If you’re a stalker, good luck if the person in front of you has to brake while on the ice.

Cassidy says a 10-second interval is sometimes necessary in icy conditions.

“Normally you want four seconds, but in icy conditions, more is always better,” he says, explaining that choosing a fixed point, such as a stop sign, and when the car ahead of you Run to that point, then start counting until your car arrives. same point.

brake: When you find yourself nearing the point of need to stop, don’t wait until the last minute. Lift the accelerator and, if possible, shift to zero so it draws power from the drive wheels. Brake slowly and gently.

“You never want to brake hard or accelerate suddenly,” explains Cassidy.

All-wheel drive: Have a four-wheel drive vehicle does not make you invincible. If all four wheels are on the ice, you will slip.

Let your windows defrost: Don’t try to squeeze through a pinhole-sized hole in the frost on your windshield.

Drive with your lights on, even in daylight. This is a good practice even when it’s not snowing.

“One of the biggest problems people have in snow or any other kind of condition is that they have exactly the same driving habits as when it’s clear,” Cassidy said.

Check your tires: The best move is to get the snow tires. But if you decide against that, make sure your regular tires have plenty of tread. You should also make sure your tires are properly inflated.

See more | Tips and tricks for putting chains on your tires

Replace your windshield wiper blades: Make sure your windshield washer fluid is filled with a non-freezing liquid and replace windshield wiper blades if they become worn.

Check your antifreeze: Make sure it will protect your engine at sub-freezing temperatures.

Bring survival gear: No one plans to get stuck in a ditch. That’s usually when they get stuck in a ditch. Have a few days’ worth of food and water ready if you’re stranded, especially if you’re traveling in the countryside. Keep extra clothes in your car and have a first aid kit.

Have these items ready to board your car:

  • Flashlight
  • first aid kit
  • jumper cable
  • Blanket
  • Tire chains (and practice wearing them before you need them)
  • ice scraper
  • shovel
  • Gloves and warm clothes

If you have an accident or your car breaks down on the road, in your car. Don’t assume that other people can see you or will be able to stop if you go out.

SEE: Seattle Snowfall Recipe Tips for driving in the snow and ice

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