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How to Stay Safe When Driving in the Snow

According to Colorado State Patrol’s statistics, during the 2015 winter season, there were 4,388 crashes while in adverse weather conditions, totaling 503 people injured and 19 dead. The sad part is that a significant percentage of those accidents could’ve been avoided if the drivers were more careful and educated on how to drive safely during the winter.

These are six tips to stay safe when driving in the snow, according to a professional winter driving instructor:

driving in the Colorado winter

1) Go Slow

Slamming on the brakes or accelerating too quickly is a recipe for disaster. If you need to slow down, is best to gently lift the foot off the accelerator and allow the car to slow down on its own.

Likewise, do not speed, even if you have 4WD! Just because a vehicle is designed to go fast doesn’t mean that it should. The bigger the car and the faster that you drive, the more momentum that builds up making it harder to stop; plus, you also increase your chances of losing control and spinning out.

2) Don’t Tailgate!

No one likes a tailgater, especially if it’s snowing. Under normal conditions, the ideal space between vehicles should be 3 to 3.5 seconds behind the car in front of you, meaning that you should be able to see its rear tires. So, if it is snowy and wet, it is recommended to leave 8 to 10 seconds between cars.

3) Avoid Skidding

If the worst comes to pass and you find yourself sliding on the road, your best option is to hold the wheel loosely, take your foot off the accelerator, and look where you want to go, not at the object you’re trying to avoid.

4) Trust Your Instincts

Drive relaxed and without tensing and gripping on the wheel. However, if you feel uncomfortable, is best to trust your instincts. Move over to the right lane and slow down to a speed with which you feel comfortable.

Operation TireSafe CDOT

Source: CDOT

5) Don’t Get Distracted

This probably should go without saying, but driving in the snow is not the time to use your cell phone – not that there’s a good time to do it while driving anyway! Also, avoid messing with the radio, eating, or putting makeup on.

6) Invest in the Right Set of Tires

There is a significant improvement in traction and braking capabilities when using snow tires, as opposed to All-Season tires during the winter. In Colorado, Traction and Chain Laws are on depending on the severity of the weather conditions, and you could be subject to significant fines if not in compliance when they are in effect. Also, always make sure that the tires are properly inflated.

At Mike’s Auto Spa, we want you to stay safe on the road this winter. We also want your vehicle to be protected from road salt damage as much as possible, so we offer an Underbody Wash with Rust Inhibitor at both of our full-service car wash shops in Lakewood and Westminster.