The best way to decrease the probability of a weather related collision in winter is to SLOW DOWN. The majority of weather related collisions are a result of driving too fast for conditions.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers these safety TIPS for driving in Winter Conditions:
- Remember to always wear your seat belt.
- Do not text or engage in any other activities that may distract you while driving.
- Drive slowly. It's harder to control or stop your vehicle on a slick or snow-covered surface. On the road, increase your following distance enough so that you'll have plenty of time to stop for vehicles ahead of you.
- A word of caution about braking: Know what kind of brakes your vehicle has and how to use them properly.
- In general, if you have antilock brakes, apply firm, continuous pressure.
- If you don't have antilock brakes, pump the brakes gently.
- If you find yourself in a skid, stay calm and ease your foot off the gas while carefully steering in the direction you want the front of your vehicle to go. This steering maneuver may require additional counter-steering before you can regain full control of the vehicle. Continue to stay off the pedals (gas and brake) until you are able to regain control of your vehicle.
In addition, these five driving rules can help minimize your involvement in potential crash situations.
- Be Far-Sighted
- Keep Eyes Moving
- Take in the Whole Picture
- Maintain a Space Cushion
- Communicate with Others
Be far-sighted, not near-sighted. Look far ahead of where you are to help see situations developing and take appropriate action. In other words, use the phrase - City Block/Country Mile.
Move your eyes at least every two seconds. Never allow a distraction or hazard occupy your eyesight for very long. While you are staring in one direction, something is happening elsewhere.
Take in the whole picture, not just what is directly in front of you. Don't just look straight ahead. Look at the cars along the street, alleyways and cross streets.
Look to the side when approaching intersections and keep track of what is happening behind you by using your mirrors.
Maintain a space cushion to ensure you have time to stop. See the chart below. The way you measure a three-second space cushion is like this:
When the rear of the vehicle in front passes an easily identifiable point, like a shadow across the road, or an overpass, or a sign alongside the road, start counting seconds. An easy way to do this is to say -- "One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three," at a moderate speed. The front of your vehicle should pass the point as you finish counting. If you arrive at the point before you have completed your designated 'count,' you need to slow down mo mentarily and increase your space cushion.
||Car / Van
||Truck / Bus
- Add One Second Over 40 Mph
- Add at Least One Second for Adverse Weather Conditions
Communicate with other drivers and pedestrians. You share the road with a multitude of people each day. Show them your next move using turn signals, friendly hand signals, headlights, brake lights, friendly horn and eye contact. Don't wait until the last minute to communicate. Let others know your intentions early so they can make appropriate decisions.
This winter season, remember to
slow down and follow these simple driving rules to help minimize your involvement in potential winter related crash situations.