Driving - Winter is the most
difficult driving season. Not only do you have
snow and ice to deal with, but there are fewer
hours of daylight as well. |
Before winter weather
arrives, make sure your vehicle is in good condition.
Make sure your
vehicle has good snow tires. Put them on the
vehicle early, before the first snowfall. Never
combine radial and non-radial tires on the
same vehicle. On front-wheel drive cars, it is
to put snow tires or "all-season" tires
on all four wheels, not just the front. Tires
with metal studs may be used in New York State
only from October 16 through April 30.
ice or snowstorms, especially when a traveler's
advisory is issued, do not drive unless
it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive,
first clear the ice and snow from your vehicle,
including the headlights and taillights, the
windshield wipers and all of the windows. Be
sure the windshield washer reservoir is adequately
filled with a freeze-resistant cleaning solution.
slowly. Even if your vehicle has good traction
in ice and snow, other drivers will
be traveling cautiously. Do not disrupt the
flow of traffic by driving faster than everyone
In a rear-wheel drive vehicle, you can usually
feel a loss of traction or the beginning of
a skid. With a front-wheel drive vehicle, there
may be no warning. Though front-wheel drive
four-wheel drive vehicles generally do handle
better in ice and snow, they do not have flawless
traction; skids can occur unexpectedly. Do
not let the better feel and handling of a vehicle
with front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive
you to drive faster than you should.
popular misconception, the best approach to
recovering from a skid is the same for both
front and rear-wheel drive vehicles.
rear wheels start to skid:
If your front wheels skid:
- Turn the steering
wheel in the direction you want the front
wheels to go. If your rear wheels
are sliding left, steer left. If they're
sliding right, steer right.
- If your rear wheels
start sliding the other way as you recover,
ease the steering wheel toward
that side. You might have to steer left and
right a few times to get your vehicle completely
- If your vehicle has an anti-lock
braking system (ABS), keep your foot with
even pressure on
the brake pedal. If your vehicle does not
have ABS, pump the pedal gently, pumping more
only as your car slows down. Braking hard
with non-anti-lock brakes will make the skid
When sleet, freezing rain or snow start to fall,
remember that bridges, ramps, and overpasses
are likely to freeze first. Also be aware that
slippery spots may still remain after road crews
have cleared the highways.
- Take your foot off
the gas and shift to neutral or push in
the clutch, but do not try to immediately
steer. As the wheels skid sideways, they
will slow the vehicle and traction will return.
As it does,
steer in the direction you want to go. Then
put the transmission in "drive" or
release the clutch, and accelerate gently.
- To avoid skids on snow and ice, brake early,
carefully and gently. "Squeeze" your
brakes in slow, steady strokes. Allow the wheels
to keep rolling. If they begin to lock up, ease
off the brake pedal. As your vehicle slows, you
also may want to shift into a lower gear.