5 Tips to Be a Better Winter Driver
Photo by candy1812/fotolia
Whether you’re a Minnesota lifer or a recent transplant, the perils of frozen roads are an annual trial. Here are winter motoring tips from Adam Newbloom, owner and lead instructor of Rochester’s Enhanced Driving Institute.
- Get the right tires—“Even the cheapest winter tire is going to outperform the best all-season tire, because their design is totally different,” says Newbloom. Because of their makeup, winter tires actually grab the snow.
- Look ahead—Get used to looking twice as far ahead than in warm-weather conditions, he says: “Most accidents are rear-end collisions, or people taking a turn too fast and sliding into a ditch.”
- Prepare for the worst—Accidents will happen, but be smart. “If you end up in a ditch, the first thing to do is stay in your car,” he says. “If it’s a high-traffic situation, you don’t want to risk somebody else losing control. And make sure you have a winter safety kit with a warm blanket and plenty of fluids.”
- Know your vehicle—When your wheels start to spin, Newbloom explains, your car has sensors that transfer power between the wheels. “That can give people a false sense of traction,” he adds. “It could be an advantage or a disadvantage if you don’t know how to use it.”
- Lose control to gain control—Test your car to see how it responds under pressure. “Go out into a wide-open parking lot and test your braking system,” he says. “Stomp on the gas and see what happens. Take a turn too fast and feel what happens. Know what it feels like to lose control, so it’s not a panic situation when you actually do.”