TIPS: How to drive safely in the snow

Every time it snows, spun out cars fill the medians and fender-benders litter intersections.

Here are five quick and easy tipsĀ on how to not end up banged-up on the side of the road as snow continues to fall:

1) Accelerate and brake SLOWLY

  • Reduced friction due to snow and ice on the roads means stopping and starting will take more time. Accelerating too quickly can cause your car to lose control and braking too late can lead to running stop signs, red lights and hitting cars ahead of you. Give yourself ample time and space to stop and start.

2) SLOW DOWN

  • The faster your vehicle is traveling, the harder it is going to be to stop. High speeds lead to less control on slippery surfaces. By traveling at a lower rate of speed, you will have greater control of your vehicle, even on snowy and icy roads. It’s worth taking your time.

3) Be careful on hills

  • Climbing and descending hills leads to changes in speed, which is tricky to control when the roads are covered in snow and ice. Trying to climb a slippery hill can cause your vehicle to slide backward into oncoming traffic. Descending a slippery hill can cause your vehicle to reach a speed that will be difficult to stop when needed. If you can change your route to take flatter roads, do so.

4) DOUBLE your distances

  • On dry roads, you should maintain one car length for each 10 mile-an-hour speed increment you’re traveling (i.e. four lengths for 40 mph). When the roads are slippery, you should double your distances, if possible. So if you’re traveling 30 mph, you should try and leave 5-6 car lengths between you and the vehicle ahead of you.

5) Don’t drive at all

  • When roads are at their worst, determine if you can avoid driving all together. Staying off streets in dangerous conditions is the only sure way to avoid an accident. If you can swing it, stay home and bundle up.