Driving can be fun, right? Zipping (safely) around corners, rolling the windows down, and blasting your favorite music, especially in the warm summer air is a great feeling. However, with frigid temperatures and winter driving conditions, driving can be treacherous and definitely not as fun. During these winter months, it’s incredibly important for the safety of yourself, any passengers, and other drivers on the road to be aware of how you are driving. Any icy patch or pile of slush that you drive over, if you’re not careful, could cause the car to slip and potentially result in a crash. So here are some winter driving tips from the expert mechanics at Clarke’s European.
Accelerating and Decelerating
With slippery roads, it’s always best to start and stop slowly. Applying the brakes or gas pedal slowly and carefully is the best way to maintain traction and to avoid skidding. When approaching a red light or stop sign, keep in mind that it takes longer to slow down and stop on icy roads. If you feel your car slipping, pulse the breaks until you come to a stop. Wherever you are going, remember that trying to get anywhere in a hurry in the winter is a recipe for disaster.
Again, winter driving isn’t very fun, but it is safe. Wherever you are driving, whether it’s on the highway or in a residential area, if the roads are covered in snow or ice, slow down. Switching lanes, turning a corner, coming to a stop, or accelerating from a stop should be done slowly and carefully.
Regular driving distance on dry roads is between three and four seconds. When there are wintery conditions, increase that distance to eight to 10 seconds. If you have to stop suddenly, this will give you a longer distance to stop.
Know Your Brakes
Schedule an appointment with a mechanic to know the condition of your brakes. A professional mechanic will be able to tell you if it’s time for them to be replaced or if you just need to be extra careful. Also, make sure you know what type of brakes are on your vehicle, if they are anti-lock or not.
Don’t Stop if You Can Avoid It
Understand that it takes more power to get a car moving from a stopped position than it does to increase speed when rolling or coasting. When approaching a red light, start slowing down earlier so that you can simply coast until the light turns green. If the roads are especially snowy, not coming to a complete stop will make it easier for you to get moving again.
If you’re about to drive up a hill, pick up speed before you begin the climb. Applying the gas excessively could cause your tires to spin, so the extra speed will ensure there is enough inertia for you to reach the top. Try to avoid stopping on a hill as much as possible.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that everything takes longer on snow or ice covered roads, so it’s important to slow down and take your time. If an accident does occur, try to remain calm.
At Clarke’s European, you can be confident that our mechanics are highly trained and will repair your car quickly and completely. If you have any questions about our services, please give one of our mechanics a call today.