This winter has been anything but typical, resulting in snow in areas of the United States that rarely ever see winter weather. Those who live in the north are more accustomed to driving in the snow, but everyone should have some idea of how to maneuver a vehicle during adverse weather conditions in the middle of winter.
Make sure there’s gas in the tank
It’s always a good rule of thumb to not let the tank get to empty, but it’s especially important during the winter months. This tip is up for debate as to whether or not it actually causes problems with the car’s system, mainly allowing the fuel lines to freeze or keeping the fuel pump from staying cool. One of the biggest reasons to have gas in your car during cold months is so you have the ability to run your heating system if you get stuck in traffic or in the snow.
Don’t use cruise control
Using cruise control during inclement weather is dangerous and should be avoided when it’s raining or snowing. The reason for this is because if your car starts to skid in the snow or hydroplane, the cruise system will continue to accelerate the car forward, and the driver can easily lose control in this situation.
Clear off your entire car
When it snows the night before a workday, you’re left with the task of cleaning off your car so you can drive there. If you’re running behind or are just in a hurry, it can be tempting to just clean off a small part of the windshield and get on your way, but this is dangerous. If you don’t have good visibility, it can put you at risk for an accident. If you don’t take the time to brush off your roof and the trunk of your car, the snow or ice will fly off once you reach a certain speed and become a hazard for other drivers.
Even during the most drivable conditions, tailgating is dangerous and should be avoided. A good rule of thumb is to give yourself 10 feet for every 10 miles per hour you drive in good weather and double it to 20 feet for every 10 miles per hour during. You want to make sure you have the ability to stop within a reasonable amount of time during inclement weather.
If you’re unsure of whether you can drive safely because of inclement weather, the best thing you can do is stay home, if possible. If you do have to drive, make sure you give yourself enough time to get to your destination on time without rushing.