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Play It Smart When Driving in Midwest Winter Weather

Dan PollmanDuring the wintertime in the Midwest, the weather can be frightening, especially while driving. Motorists should know to be cautious while driving in adverse conditions. Here are a few tips showing how to safely drive on snow- and ice-covered roads.

Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember, it takes longer to slow down on icy roads. The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.

Know your brakes. Whether you have anti-lock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor, and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.

Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just makes your wheels spin. Try to get a little momentum going before you reach the hill, and let that momentum carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill as slowly as possible.

And if at all possible, stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate; if you don’t have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors.

Stay safe this winter, and remember to follow the above simple tips for safe driving during the harsh Midwest winters!

Dan Pollman
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