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It may be April, but here in Pennsylvania, the snow is not yet behind us. With another snow storm hitting just this week, we’ve seen a parallel spike in car crashes.

Bearing this in mind, we decided it’s a good time review some basic guidelines for safe driving in snowy or icy conditions.

  • Downshift: One of the biggest causes of skidding on icy roads is braking—which often results in a loss of control of your vehicle. Braking hard and frequently also puts a lot of unnecessary wear and tear on your brakes. The safer—and more effective way—of slowing down in icy conditions is to shift to a lower gear. Downshifting in this manner helps you to maintain traction on the road.
  • Take it slow: In snowy conditions, you should allow yourself extra time to reach your destination. Drive at least 10 miles per hour below your normal speed, and keep twice as much space as normal between you and the car in front of you. Remember that it takes longer to brake in slippery conditions, and your driving strategy should take this into account.
  • Plan three steps ahead of you. When road conditions are slippery, it can be difficult to stop and equally difficult to regain traction when you want to start moving again. By driving slowly and maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles, you can anticipate upcoming intersections and try to avoid unnecessary stops and starts.

The extra commute time that comes with driving in the snow can be frustrating. However, speeding ahead puts you at serious risk of spinning out and injuring yourself and others. In slippery driving conditions, slow and steady really does win the race.