Whether you drive a car, SUV, truck – or whatever – you’ve probably been surprised to see vehicles of all kinds involved in winter collisions. But surely SUVs, trucks and four-wheel drive cars are better for driving in snow and ice than other vehicles. And, yes, they are.
But winter collisions rarely occur when you are driving in full control of your vehicle. Instead, a winter collision usually happens when the vehicles involved are braking. Regardless of what type of vehicle you drive, and how many wheels are driving it, they all stop the same. And it’s more difficult for every vehicle to slow down and stop in winter.
An unfortunate side-effect of driving a four-wheel-drive car or truck is that it can give you a false sense of security. Sure you can move along at a higher clip than everyone else, but when it comes time to stop, you face the same conditions as you would in any car.
No vehicle is immune from having a collision in winter. But all drivers can help to reduce their chances of a winter accident by using some or all of the following tips.
1. MAKE SURE YOUR VEHICLE IS IN GOOD WORKING ORDER
In addition to the tips we gave you to get your car ready for winter driving, you should pay particular attention to the systems that help your car maintain traction, like traction control, and those that help your car to stop, like your anti-lock brakes. Also remember to keep your vehicle’s cameras and collision avoidance sensors free of snow and ice.
2. SLOW DOWN
Again, just because it’s easier to drive in winter conditions in some vehicles, it’s not easier to stop. Taking your time is probably the single best way to avoid wither accidents – and their consequences.
3. MAINTAIN A SAFE DISTANCE FROM VEHICLES IN FRONT OF YOU
This is true at any time of year, but it is crucial in winter. Slippery conditions can mean that a safe distance is many times further away than it is in dry conditions.
4. ALWAYS BE PREPARED FOR A SKID
They can be catastrophic at the best of times, but when your mind is not on your driving in slippery conditions, and you lose control of your vehicle, it increases your chance of reacting with panic. If the back end of your vehicle fishtails, remember to take your feet of the accelerator and the brake, and steer gently in the direction that the back end of your vehicle has swung towards.
There’s always a chance you will get into an accident in winter. But the more you do to be prepared and avoid them, the smaller that chance will be.