Winter driving can be dangerous but doesn’t need to be

  • Published
  • By Dan Smith, 75th Air Base Wing Safety

HILL AIR FORCE BASE – Winter driving is dangerous. Icy, slippery roads can cause hazardous road conditions, delay traffic, decrease stopping and control, and unfortunately result in car crash injuries and traffic deaths.

Taking a few minutes to read this article will hopefully reduce or eliminate those times of panic by giving some knowledge and encouraging real-time risk management when navigating our roads this winter season.

Not everyone has experience driving in winter conditions. Due to this lack of experience drivers sometimes attempt to maintain dry road speeds and braking times on icy roads. Even experienced drivers tend to forget the way their vehicle handles (or doesn’t) when snowy conditions arrive.

The first time you are driving and have no control of your vehicle and are heading toward oncoming traffic or a large stationary object, it will instill some panic. Preparing for challenging driving situations before you’re in them may help you keep your cool, encourage good decision making, and help you avoid an accident.

In general, decreasing your speed, making slower braking and turning movements and driving without the aid of cruise control are steps you can take to maintain control of your vehicle.

In the event you do lose control of your vehicle, remember your first step is to take your foot off the accelerator.

In a moment of panic, some people forget to do this and make their situation much worse. If your vehicle is out of control, look where you want to go, and steer in the direction of the slide. You will tend to drive your vehicle in whatever direction you are looking.

With that in mind, keep your eyes on the road. Distracted driving is always a problem, and in winter driving conditions, milliseconds count.

Build an emergency supply kit for your car, plan your driving outside of peak weather hours. Take these steps to give you and your family the best chance of avoiding mishaps this winter season.