How You Can Avoid Hydroplaning On Wet Roads

How You Can Avoid Hydroplaning On Wet Roads

Winter Driving Safety

Winter driving can be hazardous and scary, especially in northern regions that get a lot of snow and ice. Additional preparations can help make a trip safer or help motorists deal with an emergency. The best defensive driving technique to use while driving on snow is, of course, to slow down. However, be careful you don’t go too slow or suddenly stop, which might cause a rear-end collision. The next most important thing to do is to allow ample space between you and the vehicle in front of you.

The “Four P’s” of safe winter driving are: Prepare, Practice, Protect, and Prevent. Below is more information about the 4 P’s of winter.

Prepare for the Drive

  • Maintain Your Car: Employers should ensure properly trained workers’ inspect the following vehicle systems to determine if they are working properly:
    • Brakes: Brakes should provide even and balanced braking. Check that brake fluid is at the proper level.
    • Cooling System: Ensure a proper mixture of 50/50 antifreeze and water in the cooling system is at the proper level.
    • Electrical System: Check the ignition system and make surethe battery is fully charged andthe connections are clean. Check that the alternator belt is in good condition with proper tension.
    • Engine: Inspect all engine systems.
    • Fuel: Fill up frequently. Keep at least a half-tank of fuel. A full tank is even better.
    • Exhaust System: Check exhaust for leaks and that all clamps and hangers are snug.
    • Tires: Check for proper tread depth and no signs of damage or uneven wear. Use snow tires. Check for proper tire inflation.
    • Oil: Check that oil is at the proper level.
    • Visibility Systems: Inspect all exterior lights, defrosters (windshield and rear window), and wipers. Install new winter windshield wipers.
  • Have On Hand: flashlight, jumper cables, abrasive material (sand, kitty litter, even floor mats), shovel, snow brush and ice scraper, warning devices (flares, lights, cones), and blankets. For long trips, add food and water, medication, and cell phone.
  • Stopped or Stalled? Stay in your car, don’t overexert, put bright markers on antenna or windows and shine dome light, and, if you run your car, clear exhaust pipe and run it just enough to stay warm.
  • Plan Your Route: Allow plenty of time. Check the weather and leave early. Be familiar with the maps and directions, and let others know your route and arrival time.

Practice Cold Weather Driving

  • During the daylight, rehearse maneuvers slowly on ice or snow in an empty lot.
  • Steer into a skid.
  • Know what your brakes will do: stomp on anti-lock brakes or pump non-anti-lock brakes.
  • Stopping distances are longer on water-covered ice and ice.
  • Don’t idle for a long time with the windows up or in an enclosed space.

Protect Yourself

  • Buckle up and use child safety seats properly.
  • Never place a rear-facing infant seat in front of an airbag.
  • Children 12 and under are much safer in the back seat.

Prevent Crashes

  • Always put your lights on when driving in the snow to be visible to others. Use low beams when driving in fog.
  • Slow down and be watchful for ice in shady areas, on bridges, and below overpasses.
  • Slow down and increase distances between cars.
  • Keep your eyes open for pedestrians walking in the road.
  • Avoid fatigue – Get plenty of rest before the trip, stop at least every three hours, and rotate drivers if possible.
  • If you are planning to drink, designate a sober driver.

For more information on winter driving safety, see the NHTSA Winter Driving Tips webpage.

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