We are thrilled to announced that all of the wet leaves have been raked and most of the deer that terrorized us in November are keeping mostly to grassy surfaces rather than paved ones. This is reason to celebrate for those of us who make our way throughout the Delaware Valley looking to avoid accidents each day. However, one major catalyst for car accidents this time of year remains weather-related. Even with all of the advances in auto manufacturing technology (especially from the good people at Ford), snow and ice still contribute to a ton of collisions every winter.
Drivers nowadays have their choice of rear wheel, front wheel, AWD and 4WD vehicles. Many come with advanced traction control and some of the most advanced tires and braking systems that the industry has ever put forth into the marketplace. However, all of this technology and advancement should not give drivers a green light to gun it during inclement weather conditions. There is a common misconception among many drivers new to AWD or 4WD that their vehicle will perform flawlessly on icy roads. This is in fact rarely the cast. Operating a 4WD or AWD vehicle on ice often simply results in four wheels spinning and skidding rather than two. If you do find yourself in a skid, remain calm and remember the following:
- First, if you are sliding or fish tailing, it likely means that you are going too fast. However, you want to avoid jamming on the brakes.
- Slowly depress the brakes.
- Turn into the skid. This means turning the wheel gently (so as not to overcorrect) towards the direction in which the rear end is moving. So, if the rear of the vehicle is moving to the right, you turn the wheel to the right.
Like many other dangerous circumstances, it is frankly better to avoid being in such a situation by avoiding it if possible altogether. Don’t drive on icy roads. If you do get caught in a tricky winter weather, you should:
- Wear a seat belt.
- Drive at a slow speed in as high a gear as possible.
- Accelerate and brake very gently.
- Drive particularly slowly on bends where loss of control is more likely.
- Check your grip on the road surface when there is snow or ice by choosing a safe place to brake gently
There is no silver bullet to avoiding any accident, but we suggest practicing as much patience as possible when it comes to winter weather driving!