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It’s wintertime and the driving can be anything but easy. Sleet, black ice and snow squalls are just some of the hazards that plague Canada’s roadways during the coldest of her four seasons.
Stabilizing features like the Autotrac TM 4x4 system and the StabiliTrak ® electronic control system, found in the Chevy Silverado 1500, the LT and the Hybrid, will help you stay in control in bad road conditions. But as helpful as those features are, you always have to be careful when you’re driving in the winter.
Here are 10 practical winter driving tips to help you prepare for the season’s worst. Whether you’re driving to work or on an out of town trip, follow these to help ensure you arrive at your destination safe and sound.
Winter Driving Tips
1. Plan ahead before getting in your vehicle and give yourself a realistic amount of time to reach your destination. Take into account the weather, possibility of slower traffic, reduced visibility and other hazards.
2. Check road and weather conditions for your travel route before heading out. This will help you prepare for any possible hazards and help you determine whether you should call off your trip. Police advisories and road closure announcements should always be heeded. Weather conditions can change quickly so listen to local radio for updates while driving.
3. Clear all snow and ice off your truck before heading out. It takes just a few minutes, and it’s the safe thing to do. Any snow you leave on will blow back onto your rear window or onto someone else’s vehicle. Don’t forget to brush the snow off your headlights and taillights.
4. Before getting behind the wheel, remove your heavy jacket and anything else that might restrict your ability to operate your vehicle. Wear comfortable clothing for when you’re behind the wheel and keep warm outdoor wear for when you’re out of the vehicle.
5. Turn on your truck’s full lights to see and be seen.
6. Look further ahead in traffic than you normally do. This will alert you sooner to changing road and traffic conditions ahead and give you a split-second of extra time to react safely.
7. Activate the 4X4 feature on your 4X4 truck when you encounter bad weather. If you are driving a Chevrolet truck with the Autotrac TM 4x4 system, it will automatically shift your truck from 2-wheel function to four wheels when wheel slip is detected.
8. Slow down when driving in bad weather and on slippery roads and leave plenty of room for stopping. It takes longer to stop on snow and ice-covered roads.
A standard guide to safe spacing in traffic under normal driving conditions is the Two-Second Rule. Here’s how it works:
i) Watch the vehicle in front of you pass a landmark such as a sign or tree at the side of the road.
ii) When the rear of the vehicle passes the landmark, start counting "one thousand and one, one thousand and two."
iii) If you pass the landmark before you count "one thousand and two," you are following too closely. Slow down, pick another landmark and repeat to make sure you have increased your following distance.
In winter, and especially during poor weather conditions, double the two-second rule.
9. Don't use cruise control in wintry road conditions. If your vehicle goes into a skid, the cruise control feature will maintain the same speed, limiting your ability to regain control as safely as possible.
10. Stay a safe distance from snowplows and salt and sand trucks when you see their blue lights flashing. When they’re working, these vehicles drive slower than regular traffic. But never try to pass a working snowplow. Visibility can be reduced by blowing snow and plow operators sometimes need to stop or swerve to avoid road hazards.
In summary, planning, patience and awareness will help you safely navigate the less than desirable road conditions you may come across this winter.
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