Ease up the Speed - Winter’s Here


    Why is it that every winter we seem to take a few weeks to realize that snow on the ground means we have to change our driving habits? This year with the early and often snowfalls we have had, it has taken us a little longer! 
    Unless we were a star athlete, a better than average musician, or a gifted artist in school, we need to realize that we do not have exceptional eye hand coordination and need to take extra safety measures when driving in poor weather conditions. Even those with exceptional coordination need to take precautions if they are to safely arrive at their planned destinations. 
    For some reason when we buy a four wheel drive vehicle we seem to think the technology will keep us safe. You may gain added traction and be able to grip the road better and be able to go faster than non-four wheel vehicles but stopping is another matter. Speed may not cause accidents but speed can kill or prevent you from avoiding an accident particularly in winter road conditions.
    Too many of us take road speed signs as the acceptable speed one can travel safely regardless of the weather. When engineers suggest speed limits they do so under ideal conditions, not when there may be drifting snow or black ice on the road.  Ice and snow can affect your ability to stop from four to ten times what it would take you under normal conditions so drive accordingly and slow down. You may not get to your appointment on time but you will get there!
    Be sure to put a safety margin between you and the vehicle in front of you. We have all heard of the multi-car pileups. Many of them could have been prevented if the following vehicles had doubled or even tripled the normal distance between them and the vehicle ahead. It may be hard to believe but a safe distance between you and the car ahead in snowy conditions at 100 kms is 24 car lengths or 4 car lengths for every 16 kms!
    Too often we are not prepared or even done the basics to prepare for winter conditions. Too many of us think that all season tires means we can handle all road conditions and don’t even consider all-weather or winter tires, both proven to be far safer than all seasonal tires in winter. 
    How many of us have a snow shovel or kitty litter in the trunk? Sometimes it’s even hard to find a snow scraper never mind flares, a flashlight, or candles! How many of us carry a blanket or two in case of an emergency? 
    Our first instinct when we begin to slide is to hit the brakes, which immediately losses tire traction and your ability to control your vehicle. If you don’t have an ABS system pump your brakes to maintain some traction and control. Brake before going into a curve and ease off once in the curve.
    These are just some of the suggestions that just might help you safely arrive at your planned destination and avoid going into the ditch, which, lately, is something too many have been visiting. 

 

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