Safe Winter Driving by the Seat of Your Pants

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Safe Winter Driving by the Seat of Your Pants

Those of us who live in colder climates know the feeling. After the first snowfall, before the roads are completely cleared, you get behind the wheel and it’s a whole new ballgame. Wheels respond as differently in snow and ice compared with dry pavement as do your own two feet going from a dry floor to the glare ice of a skating rink. Even the best snow tires will only provide a slight advantage over regular touring or all-season tires.

Safe winter driving isn’t taught in standard driver education classes and it isn’t required to obtain a driver’s license. It is a skill gained only from experience.

A driver with lots of experience driving on snowy and icy roads knows the hard-to-describe feeling you get. It’s not only through your hands on the wheel and your foot on the accelerator or breaks, but also in the seat of your pants. There’s a certain softness and instability feeling that’s transferred up from the tires through the chassis and frame to the driver’s seat. Learning to obey the body signals one learns from this experience is where the rubber meets the road in terms of safe winter driving. Even experienced winter drivers will sometimes forget their “safe mode” when they venture out in the first snowstorm, especially after months of warmer weather.

Predictably, the roadways are strewn with accidents and vehicle wreckage in the early winter driving season throughout the Northeast, upper Midwest and Mountain states. Some drivers hit the road during snow and sleet conditions and put the pedal to the medal as if it were just another day in the rush to make it to shop or office. They often forget to leave earlier than usual and slow down the pace. Somewhat ironically, one person’s typical rush to get somewhere is the cause of major slowdowns for everyone else traveling the same road. Unfortunately, some truck drivers who should know better are commonly guilty of causing accidents, often clogging the winter roadways even worse than a typical passenger car spin out.

A trained, experienced and mature professional driver will have the knowledge and good sense to adjust his driving techniques immediately with changing weather conditions. Here are a few tips for how to deal with ice and snow on the road:

  • Give yourself extra time to get where you’re going. This could be anywhere from several minutes to a few hours depending on distance. For a typical 30 or 40 mile commute, leaving an hour or so earlier than usual should help assure that you’ll make it to work on time.
  • Slow it down! If you generally drive the speed limit or a few mph over, remember to drop your speed to about 10 mph below the posted limit, or even more in heavy snow conditions.
  • Keep both hands on the wheel at all times. Pay more attention to the feel of the steering wheel in your hands and be prepared for reduced directional control.
  • Do not accelerate into turns! Even with front wheel drive, you will totally lose control in a turn if you spin the tires.
  • Give yourself lots of extra stopping distance. Add at least double the space you normally allow between your car and the one in front of you.
  • Learn to feel the difference in how your wheels are gripping (or not gripping) the road – including, yes, the feeling you get in the seat of your pants.

Last but not least, hiring a professional driver may be your best option if you have no winter driving experience or just don’t trust yourself in those treacherous slippery driving conditions. Professional Drivers – our company – provides the services of courteous, safe and highly experienced operators for vehicle relocations as well as many other long distance driving services. We have a 100% safe service record in all driving conditions; over 7 million accident free miles logged to date.

If the conditions are too bad, we as professional drivers will stay where it is safe with no chance of getting into an accident. “The life you save may be your own.”

Business Contact: Tony Bellefond (214) 444-7544 Email: tony@professionaldrivers.com

By | 2016-10-28T20:49:09+00:00 January 18th, 2014|Professional Drivers|0 Comments

About the Author:

Tony Bellefond
Tony Bellefond Founder and CEO of Customized Logistics Group Parent company of Professional Drivers. Mr. Bellefond, An expert in logistics, has spent over 25 years driving extensively in the United States a Canada. There is not too much he has not seen on the road. Holding a BA from Hawthorne College in Political; Science and History, Tony is graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program. Before starting Professional Drivers he worked as Vice President of Sales and General Manager of Golden Palm Publishing Corporation North Palm Beach, Florida. A licensed pilot, Tony actually received his pilot’s license before his Driver’s license. Now residing in Anna TX with his wife Ellen who is a partner in the business. They are enjoying Professional Drivers and being much closer to their Grand Children... | more about us