It had snowed the previous day, then snained (a mix of rain and snow) throughout the night. The temperature had dropped into the teens so the roads were icy and then some. I was driving along a main road where vehicles tend to speed as if they were traveling on the autobahn, then suddenly I saw something I had actually never seen before, ever. An SUV that appeared to be traveling way too fast for the road conditions, hit a guardrail, swerved, then flipped over onto its roof. I sat stupefied as the accident occurred about four car lengths or so in front of me! It all just happened way too suddenly for words, a flipped over SUV, these kinds of accidents only happened on TV for God's sake! Did the driver think he could speed in icy weather because being in an SUV made him feel road capable?
Time and time again, drivers have been warned about the dangers of speeding especially in inclement weather. Many motorists, who own SUV's are under the illusion they're invincible when they get behind the wheel of their vehicle and drive over ice, snow or rain. Nearly a fourth of all crashes occur during adverse weather conditions, partially due to the fact that many drivers do not take poor weather into account when driving.
I know you've heard it all before but do take heed, SUV's are not necessarily road conquerors. Don't expect an SUV to maintain perfect control in bad weather especially if you're driving like a maniac. When the weather is bad and road conditions are hazardous, EVERY DRIVER SHOULD SLOW DOWN!
Even the best vehicles with four or all-wheel drive WILL, I REPEAT, WILL, skid during slick road conditions and this may cause you to lose control of your vehicle. If you lose control, this can lead you and other folks around you to collide. Even more at risk are the pedestrians, whom you might not see and who could be standing nearby.
In addition to speeding, why would anyone tailgate another vehicle in bad weather? Drivers should maintain at least a 2 to 3 car clearance in front, especially when the roads are slippery and braking is compromised. DON’T TAILGATE EVER! It is a dangerous practice and can lead to deadly consequences.
Here are some other Car Chick tips for driving in winter weather:
1) When you're driving on slick roads use your brakes carefully. Remember brake early, slowly, correctly. If you have to drive on snowy or icy roads, be aware that it may take as much as ten times longer to stop your vehicle than it would on dry pavement. Unless your vehicle has antilock brakes (ABS), don't slam on your brakes. It will lock the tires, causing you to lose steering control unless the wheels are turning. If your vehicle has antilock brakes, do maintain firm, constant pressure on the brake pedal without pumping it
2) Forget about those abrupt steering maneuvers
3) Accelerate slowly
4) Don't even think about using cruise control when driving in bad weather, you should be in control of your vehicle at all times!
5) Watch for black ice in areas where they are found (bridges, intersections and shady areas).
Keep in mind, when you drive in rough weather, you need to implement different driving tactics--ice and snow, take it slow--slower acceleration, slower speed, slower braking and slower steering.
Be safe out there!
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