Oklahomans (or “Okies” as we are referred to) are known for being friendly, resilient, and lovers of football. One thing our we are not known for, however; is our ability to drive well in unfavorable road conditions. This especially is the case where winter rains, ice and snow conditions are concerned. It is with this in mind, that we have decided to compile a list of helpful tips for such road conditions. It might not help all the Oklahoma drivers on the road, but if you read and apply some of these tips to your driving, it could help your driving.
Driving in Heavy Rains (tips from Travelers Insurance):
- Take your time; under these conditions it is perfectly okay to drive below the posted speed limit. Slowing down is the only way to keep your vehicle from hydroplaning. Note that one of the most dangerous times to drive is soon after it begins to rain, as oils on roadway make for slick conditions.
- Turn your head lights on to help other vehicles see you. The State of Oklahoma requires the use of headlights during rain, even in broad daylight.
- Make sure to give other vehicles on the road more space. Add at least 1 or 2 extra seconds of following time in the rain. This gives you and the cars behind you more time to react to traffic.
Driving in Snow & Ice (Tips from AAA Insurance):
- You should accelerate and decelerate slowly when driving on snow and ice. Slowly apply the gas when accelerating as this will help with traction and avoiding skids. Don’t get in a hurry, but instead take your time. It is important to remember that under ice and snow conditions, it takes more time (and distance) to slow down and to stop.
- The importance of driving slowly cannot be stressed enough. Everything takes longer on snow-covered and ice-covered roads. Since accelerating, slowing down, turning, stopping, et cetera happens more slowly than on dry pavement, give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
- On normal dry pavement the following distance is 3 to 4 seconds. On ice and snow, double the time to at least 6 to 8 seconds, or better yet tripled to 9 to 12 seconds. This will supply the longer distance needed if you must stop.
- Do you have anti-lock brakes? Whether you have anti-lock brakes or not, the best way to stop is ‘threshold braking’. The technique for threshold braking is this: keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
- If you can avoid it, don’t stop. This may sound odd, but in snow and ice it is more difficult to start moving from a full stop. If you are still rolling, it is easier to get moving again. It is best to slow down enough so that you can keep rolling until the traffic light changes. This isn’t always possible, but when it is, do it.
- Power up hills is a ‘no-go’. Applying extra gas on snowy or icy roads gets your wheels spinning, which is not what you want to do. Instead, try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that carry you to the top of it. Upon reaching the hill crest, you’ll want to reduce your speed and slowly continue down the hill.
- Don’t stop going up a hill – stopping on an incline when roads are icy or snowy is just a bad idea. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Re-read #6 if you are still not sure how to handle a hill properly in snow or icy weather.
- Stay home if you can. The best way to deal with snowy and icy roads is not to deal with them at all. Obviously, this is not an option for everyone, but when it is, take it. You may be tempted to take on the roads because you are tired of being cooped up in the house but fight the temptation. Remember: Even if you are a good driver on snow and ice, not everyone on the road is.
We hope this information helps you become a better driver when the roads get slick. We all must do our part to keep Oklahoma roads safer. We hope this information helps you to be accident-free. If it doesn’t though and you find yourself in a collision, please know we are here to help you put the pieces back together, as well. You may also want to read our blog submission from last month, which discusses way to prepare your car for winter travel.