Unveiling The Winter Driving Circus: How To Navigate The Madness
I often chuckle at the perplexing phenomenon of winter driving idiocy, thinking, "Ah, winter—the season that turns our roads into icy dance floors and our cars into reluctant figure skaters. It's as if the mere sight of snowflakes triggers a collective amnesia about how to operate a vehicle. Suddenly, we're all auditioning for a slapstick comedy on wheels. Blame it on frosty chaos or slippery rebelliousness, but winter seems to transform sensible drivers into unwitting stars of a vehicular circus. Perhaps it's Mother Nature's way of reminding us that, no matter our technological prowess, we're still at her snowy mercy."
I find myself wondering why we spend thousands and thousands of dollars on vehicles only to drive them, particularly in winter, in ways that will reduce them mangled up useless piles of metal, plastic, and glass.
Greg Orloski, Deputy Fire Marshal for the Cedar City Fire Department was on the radio with us to discuss some what should be common sense approaches we can take as we travel the roads during winter conditions. “Preperation is the key...make sure your vehicle has good wiper blades and wiper fluid in the container.” Orloski also pointed out that the wiper fluid should have a de-icing agent in it to help keep the windows clear.
Tires are extremely important on winter roads. Make sure they have good tread and are properly inflated. Also, be sure to check your spare tire, by making sure there is one and that it, too, is properly inflated. And if you're heading over some mountain passes, as you would, for example, between southern Utah and the Wasatch Front, be sure to carry tire chains. In some condtions, you might not be allowed to continue the trip without them.
Other things to consider before you start a trip, make sure you have plenty of fuel. Orloski told us, “so you're traveling, then there's an accident and you're sitting on the freeway and you're idling and there goes your fuel.”
Some other things Orloski recommended that we have in our vehicles for winter time driving would be an ice scraper and a small broom device to get snow off. We should also have some sand or kitty litter to help traction. An emergency kit that includes gloves, flashlight, blankets and water, food, and snacks should also be in our vehicles.
Once we begin the journey in winter conditions, Orloski told us we need to be on our best behavior. Make sure to travel at a safe, usually slower speed, leave extra distance between you and other vehicles. When you need to slow down try first using a lower gear.
If your vehicle does start to slide, don't panic. Slowly take your foot off the accelerator and steer in the direction you wish to travel. If you do need to use your brakes, gently pump then and don't allow the wheels to lock up. On vehicles that have anti-lock braking systems, you can just apply firm steady pressure without pumping.
Also while traveling in winter conditions, turn on your headlights and don't use your cruise control.
You can listen to our entire segment with Orloski below. With a little bit of common sense we should be able to travel safely this holiday season and through out the winter.
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