Driving in the snow or driving over ice can be scary, no matter what vehicle you drive or how new your tires are. The winter can strain your car or RV’s mechanics and make being a safe driver even harder! By taking the necessary precautions you can ensure yourself safe driving, no matter the road conditions. Follow these winter driving tips to stay safe this winter and make driving in the snow a breeze when you are traveling through the Black Hills.
Before winter strikes you should do routine maintenance on your car or RV. Breaking down in the middle of a freezing day, or worse-night, can not only be debilitating on your plans but unsafe! You should make sure your car is in tip-top-shape by checking spark plugs, belts, hoses, and even tire pressure. Tire pressure tends to drop as the degrees take a dive, which could result in tires with low pressure making your car hard to handle while driving.
Always keep your gas tank as full as you can! In the summer, we all have been known to get down to running on almost fumes, but in the winter you can’t do that! When you are driving in the snow you are running the chance of something happening. If you have gas you will be able to run your vehicle on idle to remain warm, until help can get to you.
Make sure you have in your vehicle water, blankets, and a flashlight. Always be prepared for no matter what the weather may bring! By having these extra items, you can stay warm, hydrated, and have a light source if you happen to get stuck in the snow or slide off the road. If something like this were to happen to you, you should never get out of your vehicle and try and dig your vehicle out. By doing this you are using up your own energy and warmth. You could also potentially injure yourself. To signal help, keep a brightly colored piece of material in your car that you can put out of a window or even tie on antennae to signal for help.
Driving in the snow or on ice can be tricky! Keep in mind that when the roads are in these conditions it will take longer to perform normal driving tasks like stopping. When driving on dry pavement you should usually keep a distance of three to four seconds between you and the next vehicle. But when driving on snow or ice you should keep to eight to ten seconds since it takes more distance to stop with these road conditions.
Braking while you are driving in the snow can be a nightmare and even downright scary. If you need to brake suddenly, instead of slamming your foot down quickly you should do multiple firm taps of your foot on the brake. Whether you have antilock brakes or not the best way to stop is threshold braking. Apply firm and steady pushes to your brakes.