Here in Minnesota, we had our first taste of winter driving
a few weeks ago when a surprise dusting of snow fell on warm asphalt and froze,
turning the roads into a virtual skating rink. Traffic was snarled and there
were cars in the ditch everywhere. It always takes one event like this to
remind people how to survive winter driving. Here are a few tips to keep in
mind the next time you're faced with icy roads.
Replace your wiper blades with winter blades to keep them free
1. Replace your wiper blades with winter wiper blades.
The entire blade is wrapped in a rubber boot that prevents ice and snow from
sticking and packing, providing a clearer windshield and better visibility.
2. Buy winter tires for winter driving. They're
designed for better traction on ice and snow. With snow tires, you can stop
faster and accelerate more easily, and you won't get stuck as often. This even
applies to you four-wheel-drive owners.
3. Don't use cruise control. You never know when
you're going to hit a patch of ice, especially on bridges. With cruise on,
hitting a patch of ice can throw you into a ditch.
4. Shift your car or truck out of overdrive or
economy mode into "drive." In "drive," when you let off on the gas, the engine
slowdown will act as a brake and help slow the car safely in slippery
5. Most new cars have antilock brakes that don't
require pumping. In fact, you'll stop quicker and more safely if you just put
steady pressure on the brake and let the antilock mechanism work.
6. Don't wait until you're skidding to find out the
roads are slick. If you suspect icy conditions, tap the brakes to see how much
traction you have. But first make sure no one is directly behind you. If the
roads are slick, slow down, increase the distance between you and the car
ahead, and keep your eye on the third or fourth car ahead of you to anticipate
— Jeff Gorton,