This winter has been one for the history books, and not just in Charlotte, but all around the country! When you’re driving in uptown Charlotte, you’re used to the hazards of pedestrian and crazy city drivers, but ice and snow are not common problems in this area. So when you are facing the drive home in less-than-ideal conditions, keep these safe winter driving tips in mind.
Keep Your Gas Tank Full
While you aren’t going to end up stranded in the ditch miles from home when driving around uptown Charlotte, you still need to keep that gas tank full when the winter weather arrives. Aim to keep the tank at least half full to avoid problems with frozen gas lines.
Turn Your Lights On
Whenever the clouds roll in and precipitation starts falling, visibility begins to drop. Turn on your headlights so other drivers can see you. A good rule of thumb in these situations is “wipers on, headlights on.” If you need to turn on your wipers, you also need to turn on your headlights.
Driving for the Snow
When you drive in the snow, you need to avoid fast starts and stops. Accelerate and decelerate slowly to avoid spinning your tires. If you are coming to a stop, drop the car into a low gear and let it crawl to a stop, rather than relying on your brakes. Give yourself plenty of time to stop at a stop light or sign, as it takes much longer to stop on snowy or icy roads. Whenever possible, avoid coming to a full stop, but rather roll through intersections if it is legal and safe to do so.
Always slow down when the roads are snow covered. It takes just seconds to go from driving safely to spinning out of control into oncoming traffic. Also, follow a safe distance behind the vehicles in front of you. Instead of three to four car lengths, aim for six to eight. Sure, the other drivers may get frustrated with you, but you will be much less likely to plow into the back of someone.
If you come to a hill, try to get inertia before you start up it. Don’t try to push the gas to power yourself up the hill, because all you will get is spinning tires if you do.
If you do start to spin, don’t panic. In a front-wheel drive car, remove your foot from the accelerator until you feel your wheels get traction again, but don’t brake. Once you have traction, turn the wheel in the direction you want to go. In a rear-wheel drive car, remove your foot from the gas and turn in the right direction, without using your brakes, until you regain control.
When Possible, Stay In
If it’s at all possible, try walking to your destination or simply stay home. You may be a good snow driver, but you have to remember that Charlotte rarely gets snow, so most drivers in the area are not experienced with it. These other drivers are a risk to you, so simply avoid the problem by staying in.
Do you have any interesting stories to share about the recent winter storms? The community at Catalyst Apartments would love to hear them in the comments!