Loss Control Safety Techniques

It’s time to start thinking about being prepared for Winter Driving.  Please see the article below regarding winter driving safety.

Wendy Light

Winter Weather Driving

As winter precipitation starts falling again in the Midwest, it becomes important to remind drivers about the hazards of the season and how to be ready for them.

Being prepared for winter conditions

When preparing to drive in winter conditions, it is critical to keep lights, mirrors and windshields clean due to the extended hours of darkness. Drivers should also equip themselves with a “winter kit” including such items as basic tools (hammer, crowbar, wrenches, screwdriver, and a small shovel) deicer, some form of traction aid (salt, sand, kitty litter), warm clothes, heavy bedding, food and something to drink. A driver may never have to use this kit, but it is better to have it and never need it than to need it and not have it.

Make sure your vehicle is in good working order. First, keep current on all preventive maintenance. Drivers should also be conducting inspections of the tires, brakes, heating and defrosting systems, and exhaust systems. It is also advisable to keep the fuel tank above half full at all times. Additionally, due to the extended hours of darkness, drivers should be well rested. A fatigued driver will not generally hold up well under the stress of night driving in winter weather conditions.

Driving in winter conditions

Drivers need to be aware of the loss of visibility and traction realized when winter precipitation falls.

To avoid accidents, drivers need to see, decide and act. It takes roughly two seconds to see, decide and react to a situation – in favorable conditions! If driving at a speed that allows two seconds of visibility, the driver is likely to have little or no hope of avoiding an accident in poor conditions. It is recommended 12 to 15 seconds of forward visibility be accounted for in winter driving situations. Once a driver reacts, he or she will be relying on traction, and traction is based on friction. The ability of the brake linings to get friction with the drums or rotors is what allows braking to begin. The ability of the tires to maintain friction with the roadway is what provides the driver with the necessary traction to control the vehicle. If any precipitation gets either into the brake area or between the tires and the pavement, the driver may have difficulty controlling the vehicle. To compensate for this the driver will need to reduce speed.

It’s not just you out there

One key winter driving concept drivers must be reminded of is they are not the only ones on the road. When selecting a safe speed, the ability to avoid accidents must be considered. If a driver operates at a speed that keeps the vehicle “on the edge of control,” what happens when the vehicle in front of the driver slides out of control? Hitting the brakes or steering to avoid will more than likely result in loss of control. When conditions deteriorate, drivers should reduce their speed to allow them to control their vehicle – regardless of what happens around them.

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