Being prepared for winter driving is key


Sometimes the unknown scare us more than what’s known. This is especially true with winter driving. To new or inexperienced drivers, they may feel some anxiety or fear if their vehicle begins to skid or slides into a ditch or snowbank and they get stuck. Rest assured, that can and does happen to the best of us, but with a positive outlook and some solid advice, your can find solutions to these typical winter driving issues.

Let’s begin with how to control a skid. The best way to control a skid is not to get into one, however skids do happen, so let’s learn what to do if it does. One of the most common skids is by taking a corner too quickly. Your vehicle may begin to skid, which is called understeer. This happens when the wheels are turned to the right or left, but the vehicle wants to continue to plow straight ahead. This type of skids is often caused by going too fast into a corner or even jerky steering. Once this type of skid happens, ease off the gas and look where you want the vehicle to go. If you turn the steering wheel more to go around the corner, it will cause a vehicle spin once the wheels have regained traction on the road. You may need to abandon the turn and go around the block.

Another type of skid that you may find yourself in is a rear wheel skid, which often referred to as oversteer. Oversteer is often caused by too much speed into a corner, rough steering or even harsh braking before making a turn or going around a curve. If you’re driving a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, keep looking straight ahead, ease off all the pedals and shift to neutral if you can. Shifting into neutral will allow each of the wheels to rotate at the same rate of speed so the skid can stop. Trying to steer around the corner while in a rear wheel skid will most likely cause your vehicle to continue spinning out of control. anytime you’re driving a front wheel drive vehicle and your vehicle goes into a rear wheel skid, give a slight tap on the gas. That will help to pull your vehicle out of the skid.

So, what happens if you get stuck in a snowbank or a ditch and it will take hours to get free again? To ensure you’re prepared to dig your vehicle out of the snowbank or ditch and keep you moving along, here are a few items recommended to have in your winter vehicle survival kit. Having an ice scraper with brush should be the norm, a small shovel, booster cables, some salt/sand mix, some extra washer fluid, a working flashlight, possibly some flares, liquid flat tire repair (for the quick fix), a tow rope, fluorescent vest to help you been seen at night, lock de-icer (kept in your winter coat), even a small tool kit and a squeegee can come in handy.

With good driving choices and smooth driving actions, hopefully you’ll never get into a skid or get stuck in deep snow, needing help. Plan ahead and there may be times that the best driving decision is not to drive.