Some Safe Winter Driving Tips
Simple maneuvers that can save you from hitting another car while driving in snow.
You are driving carefully on a very snowy day and another driver crosses in front of you and slides off balance. You step on the brakes but your car keeps sliding forward. There is another vehicle on the side you want to swerve to avoid hitting the driver in front of you. What would you do?
Maybe you are approaching a traffic light, which suddenly turns red. You stepped on the brakes but your car keeps sliding forward. The other driver on the cross street of the intersection is making a turn as he has the green light. What would you do?
You are driving at 20 miles per hour, but for some reason, your car starts sliding towards the left lane with cars coming in the opposite direction. Again what would you do?
In the above three scenarios, you are going to run into problems. In the first two instances, you will hit the drivers in front of you, and that brings about its associated problems. If you and the other driver are equally decent, you will come to a common understanding. If the opposite is the case, then you will have to go through insurance and legal issues. Whether the other person is decent or not, you need to do something to avoid hitting his/her car. This is not the best time to go through that kind of hassle.
In the proceeding paragraphs, I will share with you what I have found useful. Some mechanics are going to jump at my throat to prove how it would damage your transmission. I will say this to them. I have tried it and my transmission is not damaged.
Second, I am a home mechanic, and I read a lot about how cars work and how to repair common problems. In fact, I do common repairs on our cars. . I am therefore not totally a novice.
This is what I have done when I found myself in the above exact scenarios. I was driving on the freeway on a snowy day to a car auction and the car in front of me lost control of her car. The car swung in the opposite direction right in front of me. There was another truck on my left side. I stepped on the brakes, but my truck kept sliding forward. I instinctively shifted the gear to “PARK”. That brought the truck to a comfortable stop. I used the word “comfortable”, because if you use this maneuver in summer or spring, your car will jerk violently forward, and you might mess up your transmission.
I have used this maneuver in traffic light situations and avoided the obvious consequences I would have had if I had not stopped.
If your car slides out of control, release your foot on the gas pedal and at the same time steer the car in your direction of travel. Step on the gas again gently and steadily. Allow the car’s momentum to move it forward. If the road is too slippery, shift to a lower gear (D2 or D1). When you shift down, your car tires will have better traction on the road, your chances of sliding minimized, and your ability to control in a slide becomes less alarming.
How do you deal with dangerous drivers who think that they can still speed in snowy conditions? When I perceive a speeder in my rearview mirror, I will cut down my speed so that the unruly driver will drive past me. That way, I will have enough space to myself in case I slide and need to correct myself.
I tried these maneuvers in less threatening conditions till they became second nature to me. Try it as I did and see how it works.
Till my next article and thereafter, I wish you safe snow driving. Don’t into someone.