Safe in 60: Safely Navigate Winter Road Conditions

Jan 21, 2019, 7:00 AM | Updated: 9:04 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Whether we are new to it, or have been doing it for years – winter driving can be tricky, frustrating and dangerous. There are several things to remember when driving on snowy or icy roads.

First, clear off your car completely  You should not leave your driveway until you can see out of all of your windows and mirrors.

Once on the road, slow down! Even if the roads look clear, they could be wet or icy, especially on an overpass. And while four-wheel and all-wheel drive do help in the snow, neither helps on the ice.

Increase the following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you by at least twice as much as you would for normal conditions. On clear roads, you should typically have a distance of three to four seconds. On stormy days, it should be between eight to 10 seconds.

Leave six car lengths behind snow plows and salt trucks. Never try to pass them.

To stay in control, accelerate and decelerate slowly and don’t use cruise control on snowy or icy roads.

If you are going up a hill, if possible, don’t stop. You may never get started again.

If you start to slide, know when brake and when to steer. First try turning your wheel in the direction the rear of your vehicle is sliding. Take your foot off the gas and allow the car to slow. If necessary, tap the brakes gently until you regain control.

It’s a common reaction to brake hard when your vehicle starts to slide, but sudden braking can cause you to lose steering control completely.

Good tires are key. Make sure they aren’t worn or bald. If you do a lot of winter driving or go up the canyons, snow tires are worth the investment. They are made of a softer rubber that doesn’t harden in the cold and they have a unique pattern to help with traction.

Bottom line, stay alert, slow down, stay in control and be patient. It will always take longer to get to your destination when there are winter conditions, but it’s better to arrive late than not arrive at all.

Safe in 60 is a weekly feature each Monday on KSL Today from 6:00-7:00a.m.

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Safe in 60: Safely Navigate Winter Road Conditions