It is a white winter in many parts of the United States with the polar vortex and record-breaking cold. Storms are bringing winter precipitation to normally warm areas including snowfall in Hawaii.
Blowing snow and ice can create poor visibility and challenge the skills of any driver. Professional racer and driving expert Jordi Gené is offering some tips for winter driving.
It may be easy to become a white-knuckled driver when facing harsh conditions. Gené says it is vital to plan ahead and stay calm; “Anticipate what’s ahead and take it easy, that’s the basic rule for driving in harsh conditions.”
“Using the engine brake is fundamental. Driving downhill in low gears will help handle the vehicle and it takes a lighter toll on the brakes”, explains Gené.
His recommendation applies to both winter and summer, but is especially true in the cold season as at low temperatures the wheels lose grip on the asphalt.
There are shadows on the road and those may hold dangerous surprises Gené cautions: “When driving on snow, pay careful attention to dark patches on the road where there could be black ice. You have to turn the wheel gently and lightly step on the brake until you’re over the ice patch and the wheels begin to gain grip again”, he points out.
The driving expert recommends increasing the safety distance between your vehicle and other cars during inclement weather. The professional driver keeps an emergency kit in the vehicle in case there is an accident or a long wait on a highway. Your emergency kit should be personalized to reflect your family’s size and needs, but should contain blankets, water, non-perishable food, first-aid supplies and any other essentials should you become stranded in a winter storm. These steps and frequent inspections of your vehicle will help make your winter travel safer.