What is the best way to prevent skidding when driving on icy, slushy roads?
Gary Jaffarian presents his best winter driving tips for preventing an accident in inclement weather.
This is a great question. I have spoken to many parents in the past several weeks who had young teenage drivers on the road a few recent mornings when the roads were slick. A challenge for any driver, yet alone a young driver with little experience.
Here are the most important tips for avoiding an accident or skid:
• Avoid making sharp turns. When you need to turn, come to a full stop and make the turn slowly.
• Common sense says to slow down, even if the speed limits on the highways are not modified.
• Stay in your lane and focus on the road, with both hands on the wheel for better stability. Stay out of the left lane, where most accidents occur.
• Do not tailgate. Remember what you learned in driver’s ed class? Stay one car length away from the car in front of you for every 10 m.p.h. you’re driving.
• Keep your eyes on the road, but not staring straight ahead. Keep your eyes moving by checking your side and rear view mirrors.
• Be sure to use your turn signals and put them on well advance of when you are turning, to slow down the vehicle behind you. If you miss a turn, keep going and turn around. Never slam on the brakes. Always tap brakes gently when driving on snow and ice.
• If there is another route to take, avoid steep hills and winding roads.
• If you don’t have to go out, stay in. If you are the parent of a younger, inexperienced driver, keep them off the road if possible. Otherwise, review these tips with them.
• Stay clear of plows and sanding trucks. Do not pass or get too close to them.
If you do find yourself in a skid, don’t panic! Do the following:
• Turn into the skid; do not turn in the opposite direction. Steer quickly and smoothly in the direction of the skid.
• Remove your foot from the accelerator.
• Do not use the brake. After taking your foot off the brake, if you need to brake, do so slowly and firmly.
I hope you will take it slow and easy on the roads, especially in inclement weather. Driving in inclement weather at night is even trickier. Take it slow, be sure you have plenty of windshield washer fluid and have good, quality windshield wipers. As always, eliminate all distractions—the most important being ignoring your cell phone.
Stay warm, and be safe on the roads. You have a lot of living to do in 2017!