Driving in Ice and Snow

January 7, 2010 Published by

The weather conditions this morning reminded me of  watching Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts play in the driving snow of Buffalo, New York, against the Bills. I noticed that all the players were missing plays.  They were missing tackles, missing holes to run through and missing coverages.  It was all due to the snow on the ground.  I watched all this from the comfort of my living room thinking how nice it was that it was not snowing here, and I did not have to worry about driving to work on snowy icy roads.

On days like today, I see a lot of problems that could be avoided, if people would just slow down and use the techniques they learned in drivers education.  The first thing I recommend on such days is a two hour delay for all schools in the affected area.  If the children are allowed to go to school two hours late, they will not be on the roads.  This gives two distinct advantages.  First, there is less traffic on the road and therefore less opportunity for traffic jams.  The second is that our children will be out of harm’s way during rush hour.  Good accident attorneys and good accident lawyers know that any car accident, highway accident, or truck accident can result in severe injuries.  These injuries include brain injury, back injury, spinal cord injury, paralysis, amputation, and wrongful death.  If the children are not on the roads, they cannot be hurt and everyone is better off.

Never ride a motorcycle when it is snowing or there is even a possibility of ice on the road.  A two wheel vehicle has no lateral stability.  If the motorcycle starts to slide, or the wheels lock up, the bike is going down.  The rider will be hurt from the fall, but may also slide into a car or another object, and it may be a fatal accident.

If you are driving a rear wheel drive vehicle, know you have less traction than a front wheel drive vehicle.  It helps to put weight over the rear axle to help with stability.  Sand bags are very good.  Bags of road salt can serve two purpose.  The first is to put weight over the rear axle.  The second is to provide snow melt if you become stuck.  If you are driving a rear wheel vehicle, it is essential to press on the gas pedal gently with a smooth fluid motion.  If you press too hard on the gas, the tires will begin to spin and you will lose traction.  The back end of the vehicle will start to move left or right.  This is called fishtailing.  If you feel the back end of the vehicle begin to fishtail, let off the gas.  This will allow the tires to spin less and reduce or eliminate the fishtail action.  Never slam on the brakes when you begin to fishtail, this may cause a loss of control and further exaggerate the fishtail.

Chains on your tires can be very helpful, as can studded tires.  Some jurisdictions do not allow either, and if they do, they may be limited to certain times of the year.  The most helpful winter driving hint is to take your time and leave a lot of space between you and the driver in front of you.

Good luck and be safe out there.

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