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Driving In The Snow Requires Eyes In The Back Of Your Head

by:DLAA      2020-04-28
Although it may sound like an oxymoron, there are times where you can speed up your motor trip by slowing down. That's right!! Take the forecast, for example! Let's assume that it says there will be a snowstorm with whiteout conditions, high winds and low temperatures. In other words, this is the classic definition of blizzard, but for our purposes we're calling it the 'snowstorm special.' Staying Off the Road is Best This is the type of storm where local emergency and public safety officials urge you to stay off of the road and they are right. That's the best way to handle it. If you don't have to go out and get involved in the driving, stay home with a hot cup of cocoa and watch the snow swirl outside. However, if you have to go out, there's only one way you can handle things - slow down. How much slower than normal? If the weather's bad enough and visibility is low enough then it might be a good idea to go at, as they'd say on 'Star Trek,' one-quarter impulse, or just fast enough to keep headway without sliding backward. Indeed, that's the key or, not to put too fine a point on it, as an American Automobile Assn. spokesman once said, if you normally count 'one-thousand, two-thousand' to determine if you are leaving enough room in between your car and the car in front (choose an object; wait until the car in front passes and when it has, begin your count), then it might now be a bad idea to count 'one-thousand, two-thousand, three-thousand, four-thousand' to put your car at least four second behind the one in front of you. Not a Brake Sale Pardon the pun, but this is the type of weather where you are in a 'no-brake sale' situation. You have to stay off the brakes, no matter what your normal visual input tells you. The reason is that you are already traveling slowly and if you hit the brakes too hard all you will be doing is setting up a sliding situation where your car will be losing whatever adhesion it has to the road or snow surface and you will begin to slide ahead. Most drivers would call this a skid and we won't disagree, but it is what happens when you hit your brakes hard. What should you do? I this situation the answer is simple, let the car's lack of momentum slow you down to the point where a simple tap on the brakes will bring your car to a stop (this also works in wet weather). Okay, so here's another bad pun, but it does indicate how you have to drive in rotten weather. You have to drive as if there's an egg under the gas pedal and it's your task to keep egg in one piece without shattering it all over the car floor. Light Touch Needed Granted, there's really no egg there, it's a figure of speech, but it just means that you have to drive with a very light foot on the gas pedal. And, the same is true of the brake. If you must brake at all, you much be sure to drive as if there's an egg under the brake pedal, too. You car's wheels should remain rolling as much of the time possible so that you can retain control of your car. Speaking of control, here are a number of other tips to think about when the weather outside is frightful and the driving is worse: Exaggerate all of your movements. In other words, if you normally just grab a corner on a turn and move through slow way down, edge out into the turn and then - using hand-over-hand - slowly go through the squared turn. Exaggerate your stopping. If you normally race up to a stoplight or sign and hit your brakes, just roll up to a gentle stop and tap the brake pedal if you must Make sure your car's windshield washer fluid reservoir is topped off because you are likely to use a great deal of it keeping your windshield clean as sand and salt are constantly spewing up from the wheels around you Drive as if you have eyes in all parts of your head. This may sound silly, but it really isn't. You have to keep your eyes moving all around your car - it's really called defensive driving - to ensure that the car that was cruising just off your right rear isn't about to become part of the right rear quarter panel Keep your car in top shape. If you have time before the storm hits, go to your local dealership and have the technicians replace any worn belts or hoses and make sure that all of the fluids are topped off. Be sure all of your car's key systems are in good shape. They include the heater, defrosters, windshield wipers/washers, rear window defroster, brakes and lights Be sure that all of your tires are also in good shape with plenty of tread. Replace any tires that have tread that is approaching treadware bars or looks as if it the tire is under or overinflated Make sure you have some of the following items with you: small folding shovel; blanket; dry socks (never let your feet get cold and wet); a good pair of gloves and spares; food and the like.
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