Here you go driving down the highway at a brisk 70 miles per hour. You're keeping your eyes on the road ahead as taught in drivers education course and have only become slightly annoyed at little compact car in front of you who won't get out of the fast lane. They still won't move to the left even though you've applied a little friend tailgating. Eventually you back off a little as your tactic is not working anyway. As you back off, a car coming from the opposite direction veers into your lane. Now what? What. Do. You. DO? From our collection of driving tips, here's a five moves that can make a difference.
Driving In The Winter
Winter weather can set the stage for extremely treacherous driving. Wet and slushy roads, black ice and minimal visibility are causes of many problems. The most important moves for driving in the winter are:
Icy conditions require more room for safe braking. Ensure that there is plenty of space between your car and the one in front of you. Fully utilizing your brakes in icy conditions is a key to stopping safely. If you ABS (anti-lock brakes), press the pedal down firmly and hold it. You can also turn to avoid obstacles when braking if equipped with ABS. If you're driving a car without ABS, gently pump the brakes and steer straight ahead.
Controlling A Skid
If you drive into a patch of ice and begin to skid, remain calm and slowly take your foot off the accelerator. Do NOT hit the brakes. Remaining calm and exaggerate making smooth changes in vehicle speed. Keep your eyes up, look in the direction you want to go, and steer in that direction. If you slightly over correct, smoothly turn the steering wheel the other way. It may take a few times to get the car going in the right direction, but don't use the accelerator or brakes until you are in control of the steering. This is something that probably wasn't taught in drivers ed California.
Driving In The Rain
Rainy weather may not have all the dangers of snow and ice, but traction is still limited and some situations still require caution. Visibility is often impaired, but the bigger threat may be hydroplaning.
Laying water creates the risk of making your tires lose contact with the road. In this case, even though it's only water it creates the same effect as black ice. That means you manage hydroplaning in the same manner. Smoothly release the accelerator, look and steer in the direction you want to go, and don't change speed (i.e., accelerate or brake) until your tires are again in contact with the road.
Obstructions In The Road
You should be prepared to handle almost anything. Even when you're just gliding down the highway, everything from rocks to people can get in the way.
There exists many differing opinions about dealing with animals on the road. For example, if a deer runs out in the road, some believe you should increase speed causing car to angle upward hopefully reducing the chances of the animal going through the windshield. The bottom line is that the higher the speed of impact, the worst the impact. Try to decelerate as much as possible and maneuver to avoid large animals. Small animals can be handled differently. Always avoid them when possible, but do not risk loosing control of you vehicle to avoid these smaller animals.
One of the worst possible situations on the road is a head-on collision. The true speed of the impact is the addition of both vehicles' speed, so these types of collisions are dramatic and often fatal. They can happen so quickly that you almost never see it coming. Utilizing your vision to look 30 seconds ahead can help spot trouble before it reaches you. Keeping your eyes up and being alert at all times helps provide you with time to react. If a car is coming directly at you, you should:
Minimize The Impact
Try to get the other drivers attention by honking your horn and flashing your lights. Quickly move as far over as you can to avoid a crash. Slow down quickly. There is physics at work. The addition of the cars' two high speeds of travel will add up to a seriously high speed collision. If you can reduce one end of the equation, you have a chance to minimize some of the impact.
Evasive driving moves in these dangerous situations can save your life. Until you're in the situation, no one know how they will react in life-threatening circumstances. However, if you are aware of your surroundings and always maintain a focus on driving moves like these, you will be armed with the knowledge of how to react when the time comes.