Interesting Facts About Winter Driving Survival: Be Careful

Winter can be an enjoyable time of the year; however, with 70% of U.S. roads located in snowy regions – averaging more than five inches of snowfall annually – it can also be a treacherous time of the year for drivers if simple precautions are not taken.
Winter driving has provided more than its share of wake-up calls to motorists smug in their supposed knowledge of dealing with nasty weather. Safe driving is always important, but being on the road during winter warrants extra precautions.
Driving in the winter can be harrowing, especially where blizzard and icy conditions crop up seemingly out of nowhere. But new safety technologies are being added to cars at a record rate. Some can even take control of the vehicle to help us avoid crashes.
One such technology that’s particularly useful in winter is traction control. This function helps your vehicle gain traction on snowy, icy or wet surfaces, particularly when accelerating from a stopped or slowed position, or when trying to make it up a slippery hill. Traction control is now standard on most new vehicles.
In winter, bad weather can affect reaction times, tire conditions and stopping distance. There are many laws facts around winter driving that drivers need to be aware of at this time of year – and some are lesser known than others.
Every season has its driving challenges, but winter can be the most treacherous and dangerous time of year for motorists. Unpredictable road conditions, changing visibility, poor weather and other motorists can combine to make winter driving dangerous — or even deadly.
Crashes due to ice, snow or sleet account for over 1.5 million accidents per year, with winter conditions accounting for up to 17% of weather-related crashes and fatalities. Unsafe winter driving accounts for hundreds of thousands of accidents yearly. Over 70 percent of the nation’s roads lie in snowy areas, which means learning to drive safely in winter conditions is necessary.
Fortunately, being prepared can go a long way toward mitigating the hazards of winter driving. Here are some interesting facts and tips to stay safe in hazardous weather conditions during winter:
1. Watch weather reports prior to a long-distance drive or before driving in isolated areas. Delay trips when especially bad weather is expected. If you must leave, let others know your route, destination and estimated time of arrival.
2. Choose the right vehicle . Not all cars are created equal. In winter conditions, a 4-wheel drive truck or SUV braking on snow-covered roads will stop about four meters before a sub-compact or minivan. If you have a choice of vehicles, choose a four-wheel drive equipped with snow tires.
3. Get your vehicle checked . Take your car in for a maintenance check-up. Make sure the fluid levels (oil, antifreeze, etc.) are checked, and make sure your windshield washer fluid is both full and rated for the cold weather. Keeping some extra antifreeze and washer fluid in the car is also a good idea. You should also make sure your headlights and taillights are in working condition. Before any long journeys, check with your car insurance agents to make sure you’re covered in case of the worst-case scenario.
4. All-Wheel Drive (AWD), Traction Control, ABS brakes and Electronic Stability Control don’t create more grip between your tires and wintry roads.
Whatever traction-enhancing systems your ride features, it’s still got just four tires touching the road’s surface.
Those tires dictate the amount of traction available to the rest of your vehicle’s systems. Traction assist systems and AWD can make better use of available traction, sure.
As running winter tires is the only way to physically increase that traction, they give these systems more grip to work with, making them work better.
No drivetrain or electronic system is a replacement for winter tires. AWD doesn’t help you stop on an icy road, and ABS brakes only work as good as the available traction at the tires. There’s only one way to increase that level of wintertime grip and it’s by adding winter tires.
5. Cars don’t skid out by themselves. Roads don’t make cars skid out, either. Other than in cases of extreme mechanical failure, a skid is always caused by going too fast for the conditions and traction at hand.

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