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Guide To Safe Driving During Winter – PART 3

Winter Driving

In the first and second part of the article we talked about considering alternative transportation and how to prepare your ride for the snowy season. Also, we shared a few tips about how to drive on snowy and icy roads. In this third and final part of the article we are going to talk about emergency measures and what to do when you get stuck in the snow.

If your vehicle begins to slide, first you need to take your foot off the accelerator without hitting your brakes. For those of you driving a stick you should take your foot of the acceleration pedal, don’t hit the brakes and fully depress the clutch pedal. You should steer into the direction that you want to go which in most cases is the same one with the direction of the skid. So, if the tail end of the car starts skidding to the right, you should turn the steering wheel to the right. The vehicle should start to self-correct if everything goes smooth. You need to accelerate in a gentle matter in order to get the wheels of the vehicle moving again and increase their traction. If you want to make a stop it is highly advisable to brake gently. It is best to avoid hitting the brakes hard because by doing so it will stop your wheels and will eliminate any traction that you have had.

For the cars equipped with antilock brakes, the brake pedal should be pressed gentle. There are very good chances that you will feel the brakes pulse, don’t get scared as this is a very normal thing. For traditional brakes, you need to pump the brakes gently.

If you have the misfortune of ending up stuck on the side of the road or in a snowbank, it is advisable to press the acceleration pedal in a gentle matter in order to see if you can get free. Don’t overdo it because if you hit the pedal very hard the wheels will most likely start spinning and you will remain in the exact same position as before.

If that doesn’t work, now you can try rocking your way out. If the vehicle moved just a little bit, you should gently drive forward up to that point and after that release the acceleration pedal and hit the clutch (for those of you that have a manual gearbox), letting the vehicle slide back. With the risk of repeating ourselves, the idea behind this move is to nudge the vehicle back and forth by using a gentle touch of the acceleration pedal. Think of it like pushing on a swing. If you are lucky enough and you weren’t badly stuck, in most cases you will make sufficient room in order to get enough speed to break out of the annoying snowbank. Whatever you do, it is best to avoid spinning the wheels of the car because by doing so, it will polish the packed snow under the car’s wheels into ice. While rocking, you could very well steer by turning the vehicle to an angle opposite the snowbank.

If you haven’t resolved the problem yet, you should put the vehicle in park, set the handbrake and get out of it in order to start digging the snow away from the vehicle’s wheels and also under it if you think this is what stops you from going forward or backwards. In the first part of the article we mentioned the shovel, now would be a good time to use it as this is the only one that is able to get under the car and clear the snow. Don’t try removing the snow with your hands, arms or any other body part, it is useless. The sand you hopefully packed should be placed under each wheel, especially on the drive wheels of the vehicle. For those of you that drive all-wheel drive cars or four-wheel drive, sand should be placed on each of the four wheels of the vehicle.

If all of the above don’t work for your situation, try flagging down an incoming motorist or call a friend/member of the family who could arrange for a tow truck. Most likely they will try to help you by pushing your vehicle, but remember the following: In the front, by turning your wheels while spinning, the tires will throw stuff in the direction of the helper and in the back, a spun tire will throw stuff back, which again isn’t a fortunate situation for the helper.

If you have the extra money to spare, you could increase your car insurance by adding towing coverage. Another idea would be to get an automobile club membership; the decision is up to you.

If you decide to stay close to your immobilized vehicle, avoid sitting in the front of it and try sitting in the back in order to let other motorists see you better and who knows, they might stop and give you a hand. In addition, if another motorist plows into the back end of your vehicle, we are certain that the last place where you would want to be is in the front of it.

As you can see, driving a car on snowy roads can get a little bit tricky if you don’t take the necessary precaution measures. If something really happens when driving, like getting stuck in a snowbank, you should be aware of the fact that there are a couple of ways to get out, without having to call for a towing truck. With the risk of repeating the same thing all over again, do your best and don’t press the acceleration pedal too much. It is highly advisable to drive slow and be very attentive at what is going on around you as the risk of getting in an accident is high in these difficult weather conditions. As they say, better safe than sorry. Good luck and safe driving, especially during the winter months of the year.

One Response to Guide To Safe Driving During Winter – PART 3

  1. MP3Panda says:

    Wow!, this was a top quality post. In theory I’d like to write like this too – taking time and real effort to make a good article… but what can I say… I keep putting it off and never seem to get something done

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