As temperatures drop below freezing in the Treasure Valley, it’s a good idea to brush up on safe driving practices for icy and snowy road conditions. You can protect your car and your life this winter by following these winter driving tips.
With winter road conditions, it’s very important to accelerate and decelerate slowly. This will help your tires gain traction on the icy or snowy road. If you slam on the gas or brakes too quickly, you can easily cause your car to lose traction and skid out of control. If you do start skidding, try pumping on your brakes to get your car to a stop rather than pressing down hard on your brakes.
When driving, the normal rule of thumb it to keep a following distance of 3-4 seconds. However, in winter conditions it’s important to increase your following distance to 8-10 seconds to give yourself enough time to stop if needed. This longer distance could help you avoid a crash if you lose traction when trying to slow down or come to a stop.
Going up hill
Ice and snow can make it difficult for your car’s tires to maintain grip when driving uphill. Thus, try not to press on your brakes when accelerating up a hill, your tires can lose traction on slippery roads and start rolling backwards without control. However, it’s also important to not accelerate too quickly up a hill as well. If you press on your gas pedal too abruptly, your tires could spin and lose traction as well.
During a longer winter road trip it may be tempting to use your cruise control. However, putting your car in cruise mode can make it hard to react in dangerous situations such as your car skidding out of control on ice.
Take care of your car
There are several things you should do to avoid a winter car emergency. Make sure your car’s gas tank is at least half way full throughout winter at all times. This prevents your tank from freezing during cold spells. You do not want to be stuck in cold conditions with a frozen gas tank. You’ll also want to avoid a dead battery this winter. Take extra precautions during the winter to make sure all your interior and exterior lights are off before you leave your vehicle. During warmer seasons your car battery may last quite a while with a light left on. However, freezing temperatures can speed up the death of a weak battery. Another
important step to take this winter is to replace your car windshield fluid with a winter fluid. The winter fluid version is made to withstand freezing temperatures. Normal windshield fluid will freeze either in the fluid compartment under your hood or will freeze once sprayed on your window making it extremely hard to see.
Remember, if a bad snow or ice storm hits one of the best ways to keep yourself and your car safe is to stay home, if possible.
Winter conditions in Nampa, Boise and the greater Idaho area can cause unpredictable medical emergencies. To prepare yourself to help someone in a life-threatening situation, check out Sawtooth Emergency Medical Institute’s emergency medical training courses. STEMI offers certifications such as CPR and AED but, also provides EMT training classes to those seeking their EMT license to help others in emergency situations. STEMI’s EMT school offers fast-track EMT training for those who need to complete their license quickly. Visit our EMT training school page to learn more.