Pennsylvania winters are hard to predict. One day, it can snow, the next, it’s warmer and raining. Snow and ice left over on the roadways present a serious road hazard, and temperature changes can cause phenomena like black ice. In bad winter conditions, it’s always a better choice to avoid driving altogether.
When alternate transportation isn’t available, here are some useful tips for driving safer:
- Obviously, drive a little more slowly than normal
- Leave adequate space between your vehicle and others for stopping and maneuvering
- Brake gently to avoid losing tire traction
- Remember that bridges and other types of pavement ice over before the roads
- Don’t try to pass snow plows or other snow-clearing vehicles
Know the limitations of your vehicle: even 4-wheel-drive will not always help in icy conditions. Many, if not most, cars on the market today come equipped with features like anti-lock brakes that can be the last line of defense on an icy winter day. Anti-lock brakes are meant to help a driver stop quickly on slick road surfaces– and even race car drivers don’t have the reflexes that anti-lock braking systems (ABS) have. ABS keeps your wheels from spinning and losing traction while you slow down and brake, which also helps you to steer even in icy conditions. Cars today are equipped to be safer for drivers, but that doesn’t mean that drivers should take their vehicles’ capabilities for granted. It is always important to be a safe driver first.
To keep yourself and others out of harm’s way, always exercise your best judgment when driving in the Pennsylvania winter. A split-second can potentially cause a serious car accident, so it’s important not only to know how to drive more safely, but also to practice these safe driving tips. Younger drivers and experienced ones alike can benefit from reviewing safe driving practices during the winter months, as well as familiarizing themselves with the features of their vehicles.