Top 10 Tips for Winter Driving
- For driving in the snow, increase your following distance of any vehicle in front of you to eight to ten seconds. If you were unaware, the normal following distance on dry pavement is three to four seconds. Basically, give a little more than twice the distance you normally would when driving in the snow. This increased distance of safety will provide you with enough room to safely stop.
- Whenever you drive on snow or ice, don’t stop if you can avoid it. There is a huge difference as it relates to beginning to move a Nissan Altima car from a full stop compared to slowly accelerating while the Altima sedan is still rolling. Keep this in mind when approaching a red traffic light. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling by time the traffic light changes to green, you will exponentially increase your odds continuing on your route without getting stuck.
- Do not use cruise control when driving on any type of slippery surface i.e. wet, ice, sand or snow.
- Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up. Furthermore, if your vehicle gets stuck or damaged, the extra gas will allow you to keep your vehicle running and thus keep you warm and safe.
- Clean all of your windows and make sure your wiper blades are clean of debris. If your wiper blades appear to be clean, but still streak across your windshield you need to replace them. Also, always make sure that your antifreeze washer solvent is topped off. On a similar note, be sure the wipers are turned off before starting the engine to prevent damage to the wiper motor.
- When driving in the snow or on icy surfaces, accelerate and decelerate slowly with the front wheels pointed straight. The best way to gain, or regain, traction is by applying the gas slowly. This will also reduce the probability of your car skidding as you begin to move. If you let the wheels spin, you will only dig deeper into the snow. A skid occurs when the driver applies the brakes so hard that one or more wheels lock, which is why it is imperative that you decelerate your sedan slowly.
- Before leaving in your car, truck, van or suv, start your auto and turn the heater on for approximately two minutes before using the defroster. Don’t you hate when you have a foggy windshield? If you are normal and your answer is yes, this trick will prevent moisture from fogging the windshield when warm air hits the frigid glass.
- If your vehicle gets stuck in the snow, STAY with your car. To start, your vehicle will provide you with shelter and keep you warm. Moreover, it is more likely for rescuers to find your vehicle in a storm vs. you on foot. There is also a chance that you could lose sight of your vehicle in a snowstorm with blowing snow. The only reason you should get out of your vehicle is to tie a brightly colored cloth or piece of clothing to the antenna to signal distress. If your vehicle does not have an antenna, place the bright article at the top of a closed window. If the sun goes down and you are still stranded with your vehicle, leave the dome light on since it only uses a very minimal amount of electricity.
- Remove all snow from your vehicle before you hit the road in your car. Depending on the amount of snow on your vehicle, the added weight can adversely affect how your vehicle steers, starts and stops. However, the main purpose is to protect the drivers around you. How do you think you would react if you were driving along and a giant slab of snow came flying off of the vehicle in front of you…and maybe even hit your windshield? You would freak out and most likely swerve and/or stop abruptly and neither of those actions should be performed while driving even in the best of conditions.
- Never warm up your vehicle in a garage. Technically, do not warm up your car in an enclosed area, but for 99.9% percent of people that means their garage. It is never a good idea to enter a room filled with carbon monoxide…especially when you are about to operate a car!
Windsor Nissan in East Windsor, New Jersey hopes that you find these 10 Winter Driving Tips helpful. Especially, if you happen to live on the East Coast and are enduring yet another horrid winter storm as we are at 590 U.S. 130 East Windsor, NJ 08520. Remember, always wear your safety belt and please drive safe!