Winter can be a scary time of year for new South Dakota drivers. The inclement weather means worse road conditions that can lead to a motor vehicle accident in the blink of an eye.
Driving safely in the snow is a skill set that most drivers need, but it’s also a change in mind. In addition to slowing down and being more cautious, there are a few different ways to stay safe while driving in the winter.
The importance of going slow
Many drivers focus on having quick reflexes when driving during regular road conditions. However, when dealing with ice and snow, you must go slow. It’s important to give yourself plenty of space from the drivers ahead of you. Moving the steering wheel, pressing on the accelerator and applying pressure to the brakes should all be done deliberately and at a steady pace.
Jerky movements from turning too fast or going from accelerating to braking too quickly could force your car to skid out and cause an accident. Skidding happens when your wheels have lost traction with the road, causing your whole car to slide.
What should you do if you start to skid?
Statistics show that cars end up where the drivers are looking. If you’re looking toward the direction you’re spinning out, like the sidewalk or another car, your vehicle is going to end up going in that direction. Drivers should avoid hitting the brakes unless they have to. Instead, ease up on the accelerator and focus on steering the car in the right direction.
However, if you absolutely need to slow down and hit the brakes, you should hit the brakes all the way to the floor. This will trigger most cars’ anti-lock braking system, which will help them slow down and get control back.
What else should you do?
Drivers in the snow should focus on going slow and driving purposefully. Keep an eye on your surroundings so that you can react appropriately with enough time to slow down if needed, and this should help you stay safe this winter.