Driving Tips by Jim Brazil
Hydroplaning is a real possibility in wet or slushy conditions. It happens when the tread of the tires cannot displace the water on the road surface because the speed of the vehicle is too great for the amount on the road and/or the tread of the tires is not deep enough to do the job. Dealing with this is very similar to a skid. Release the accelerator never apply the brakes, hold on tight to the steering wheel and shift to neutral (or clutch with a standard) until the tires come back into contact with the pavement.
There are a number of specific locations in the winter time that are more likely to be slippery than others. These dangerous places include exit and on ramps, curves, hills, shaded areas, along side bodies of water, bridges, intersections. Adjusting your driving as you approach these specific areas can go a long way to preventing mishaps.
Knowing your Vehicle
Knowing the capabilities of your vehicle will help to keep you and other road users safe. A four while drive vehicle will assist you in moving through snow or slush but it is no better than other vehicles in braking or turns. Typically they have a higher center of gravity which may lead to a roll over in certain conditions especially at higher rates of speed. An all wheel drive vehicle and traction or stability control systems are better overall because the systems adjust for any loss of traction.
Backing up in any situation is riskier than driving ahead because of the blind spots that you may encounter. Backing in winter conditions can increase that risk. Whenever possible drive ahead. If your vision is obstructed by a snow bank, roll down your window turn down your radio or CD player and listen for the sounds of traffic, and proceed only when it is safe to do so.