They’re here! We are smack-dab in the middle of the holidays. That means tons of things to do, from shopping to family events, it’s regular life on overdrive! The last thing anyone needs during this time of hustle and bustle is being stranded roadside. The weather can cause huge problems, but a lot of the time, we’re in such a rush that we aren’t paying attention to road conditions, traffic, and more importantly, the warning signs from our own automobiles. So, in an effort to be best prepared, here’s a list of important things to note to avoid snow emergencies.

One of the most important things to note, during any kind of inclement weather, bad traffic or unfavorable road conditions is to never engage your cruise control. The first step in accident prevention is being in control of your car, and feeling the reactions of the car on the road. When cruise control is engaged, a lot of this reaction time is gone and you’re left overcorrecting instead of preventing.

Secondly, it is important to understand road traction. When driving in the snow, do not accelerate hard. This can cause you to lose traction with the road, like when a wheel spins out at the starting line of a race. It’s  good practice in conditions like this to put your car into a lower gear. You’ll notice that there’s 1 and 2 on your shifter that you may never think to use. These lower gears prevent the car from going at high speeds and they deliver more power to the wheels.

Lastly, black ice is a secret danger! The evening and very early in the morning are times when black ice is least perceivable. It blends in with the road, as it’s a very thin layer, almost transparent, but it’s slick and will prevent tires from maintaining a good grip on the road. Even a 4WD vehicle doesn’t fare much better on ice, if all the wheels are slipping at once. Chains are the best way to gain traction on ice, though stopping distance is still several times greater than on dry pavement with ordinary tires. One thing to note about black ice is that it’s not really black! Black ice is a transparent layer of ice that looks black, because it’s so thin that you can see the road surface below it – (because most roads are asphalt. Black ice will be grey on a concrete road, and metal on a metal bridge, etc.).

These warnings seem like simple concepts, but you’d be surprised at how common these factors are in winter driving emergencies. Remember, no drinking and driving! Stay safe, Women Auto Know readers, and Happy Holidays!!!

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