We Midwesterners are pretty well accustomed to driving in some of the worst conditions Mother Nature can bestow – rain, sleet, ice, snow, wind, etc.  Sure there are still those idiots, particularly those who drive large, intimidating SUV’s, who just seem to assume that their AWD makes them immune to the road conditions.  Truthfully, they scare me the most.  They feel somehow their vehicle doesn’t have to abide by the laws of physics, and they couldn’t be more wrong.  My motto is to stay clear of those vehicles, maintain a slow and steady pace in the right lane, leave a large space cushion and trust no one.  Below are some helpful tips to get where you’re going safely, but only if you have to:

Pump it Up

Make sure your tires are properly inflated.  This will help ensure proper traction and steering.

See Clearly

Brush off excess snow, defrost and defog when necessary.  Make sure you have plenty of wiper fluid and don’t forget to clear off your side mirrors.

Space it Out

Leave plenty of distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.  This will allow for enough stopping time and keep the debris from kicking up on your windshield from the car in front of you.

Keep Your Steering in Check

If you feel your vehicle begin to slip or slide, don’t overcompensate by over steering.  Take your foot off the gas, keep calm and let the vehicle right itself.  When turning, slow the vehicle down, turn the wheel gently and only tap the gas once you know the vehicle has traction and has made it through the turn.

Technology Offers No Miracles

All wheel drive (AWD) vehicles give some driver’s a false sense of security.  AWD can only help a vehicle accelerate or keep moving.  It CANNOT help you make a tough turn or stop any faster than another vehicle.  Don’t overestimate your car’s abilities.

The best rule of thumb for driving safely in hazardous conditions is simply NOT to get on the road if you don’t have to.  If you must, and it does happen, please make sure you keep the above tips in mind.  And remember, trust no one.  Drive defensively, keep calm and make sound decisions.

“The future lies before you, like paths of pure white snow.  Be careful how you tread it, for every step will show.”

– Unknown

Best wishes,

Kim Sweeney