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Tip 2: Smoothness is Key

Tip 2: Smoothness is Key

By Libby Niemi
posted: 02/04/2005

Foust says, "When driving in winter, rarely does anything need to be done abruptly." Everything drivers do while operating their vehicles on slick surfaces should be done gently, slowly and easily. By performing operations smoothly, it's easier to maintain traction on the road. For example, if a vehicle turns quickly, its tires will not have a chance to maintain traction on ice or snow. Additionally, accelerating, stopping quickly or making rough downshifts from high RPMs can cause a vehicle to slide out of control. Drivers must make sure to not act rash. Instead, they're encouraged to make subtle moves.

A good winter driver reacts gently and recognizes smooth spots on the road. Smooth spots are areas where other drivers have lost control and have made the surface more polished such as curves and stop signs. A key point to remember while driving in winter is the most traction is needed where the least traction is available. This can be seen when a driver tries to quickly pull away from a complete stop. The vehicle does not gain any speed, spins its wheels, and makes that area much more slick for other drivers.

Driver Tip: To avoid slipping at slick spots, drivers must change their driving methods. During winter, drivers should break harder, earlier and then recoil from the brake pedal when approaching slick areas. (See tip #1)

Additionally, it's important to maintain momentum while going up hill and control speed while going down hill. Studies have shown that when drivers approach a hill, they tend to slow down as they go up.

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