Now that we're in the grips of a particularly wet, cold winter, it's important to remember that it poses many driving challenges. Western Washington has lots of hills and steep grades, which cause treacherous driving conditions when combined with cold temperatures. Please slow down in these conditions!
Water from our frequent rains
can turn to ice, and a thin layer on the roadway that can't be seen --
aptly named 'black ice' -- can, without warning, cause your vehicle to
slide out of control. Since drivers don't see the danger, they're
usually driving faster than the conditions allow.
when we get even a thin layer of snow, roads quickly turn hazardous!
Combining hilly roads with a lack of snow-removal equipment, snow gets
packed down and becomes icy. Since drivers in Western Washington don't
get much practice at driving in the snow and ice, you end up with a
serious traffic problem!
But, you can make it through unscathed by adhering to a few important winter driving tips!
Top 10 Driving Tips:
2. Clear your windshield - Never
pour hot water over the windows to melt the ice and snow. This will
typically shatter the windshield. Use a plastic scraper to avoid
scratching the glass and use the front and rear defrosters to melt the
ice. Avoid using your windshield wipers until after all the ice and snow
have been removed.
3. Don't just clear your windshield
- Don't forget to clear all of the other windows, as well as the roof,
hood, mirrors, headlights and tail lights, license plates and the
exhaust pipe. This will prevent accumulated ice and snow from becoming
an airborne hazard for other drivers.
4. Keep a survival kit in the car
- Blankets, water-proof boots and gloves, hats, and any necessary
medications should be carried in the car. Keep a small shovel, jumper
cables, and something that could be used for traction (e.g. cat litter,
sand, etc.) in the car as well.
5. Test your limits in a safe environment
- Take your car to a familiar, empty parking lot near your home after a
rain, snow or ice storm. Practice emergency stops and turning at a safe
speed. Be sure and watch out for light posts, curbs and parking
barriers to avoid any damage to your vehicle.
6. Warm up the car the right way
- To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, never attempt to warm up your car
in an enclosed area. Even when outside, be sure to clear your exhaust
pipe before running your car.
7. Pump your brakes at the right time
- If your vehicle is equipped with an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS),
you should depress the brake pedal completely and keep it depressed. The
ABS will rapidly pump the brakes for you in most situations if at least
one wheel is still turning. If all four wheels have stopped turning and
the vehicle is still sliding on ice, you should pump your brakes as the
ABS has failed.
8. Drive in the existing tracks
- To help traction, try to stay within the pathway already dug by other
vehicles' wheels. If you end up stuck, remember to keep your wheels as
straight as possible and don't just continue spinning your tires. Spread
sand or cat litter around your tires and along the path you plan on
taking. In a pinch, you can also use your floor mats for traction.
9. Don't turn while braking or accelerating - In rain, snow and ice, attempt to slow down before a turn and accelerate slowly after the wheel has already turned.
10. Catch a skid
- If you do start skidding, stay calm! Don't slam on the brakes, don't
hit the gas pedal. Turn your wheel smoothly in the direction that you
intend to travel. You should be able to regain control of the vehicle
once it has slowed enough to regain traction. Don't turn the wheel too
much, a little goes a long way and you don't want to be pointed in a
dangerous direction if traction returns suddenly.
Whatever your predicament, SAV-ON Insurance Agencies
is there to help. We'll work with your insurance company to make sure
you get back on the road again as soon as possible! Call for a free rate
quote today at 888-867-2866.