Home > Ask Gary > How can I avoid an accident in this slushy, icy, snowy weather?

How can I avoid an accident in this slushy, icy, snowy weather?

winter drivingThis is the most common question I’ve heard this week as winter driving conditions are here and we’re already experiencing January weather conditions and temperatures that cause “black” ice.

Here are my best safety tips:
• Keep your speed down, especially on the highway. Even if the speed limit is 65 m.p.h., you can drive 45-60 m.p.h., staying in the right-hand lane.

• Avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.

• Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface.

• Always steer in the direction you want to go. Against our instinct, if you find yourself in a skid, do not turn your wheel in the opposite direction or you’ll end up in a spin-out. Drive into the skid.

• It takes longer to slow down on icy roads so accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry and take time to slow down for a stop sign or red light by gently applying the brakes well before you need to. Please leave extra room between you and the car in front of you—three times more space than you normally would.

• Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is to brake by keeping the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.

• Even with an automatic, downshift to a lower gear to improve traction, especially when going up hills.

• Don’t drive up icy or snowy hills by trying to over-accelerate. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. But don’t stop on the hill, or you may slide down. Get your momentum on the flat road and keep going as you approach the hill. As you reach the top of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down the hill as slowly as possible.

Common sense should prevail:Toyota in winter
• Don’t go out if you don’t have to.
• Don’t pass plows or sanding trucks.
• Stay awake and alert with loud music, cracking the window open, drinking coffee or water.
• Always bring your cell phone with you. Carry extra water and windshield washer fluid, a flashlight and blanket.
• Always wear your seatbelt and never, ever text while driving.

For more safety tips visit the AAA.com or weather.com web sites.

To be sure your car can handle the challenges of winter driving, be sure to check your tires, have an alignment and have your car checked for any potential problems. This is the season where you don’t want to skip any preventive or routine maintenance. Our Jaffarian Service Departments are here to help. For your added convenience, we service vehicles six days a week beginning at 7:30 a.m. and you can schedule your appointment online.

All of us at Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Scion wish you safe traveling this winter.

Ask Gary Jaffarian

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