Education & Safety

How to Brake Safely in Winter Weather


Danger – snow and ice ahead


From beautiful snowy landscapes to cozy nights by the fire, winter can be a magical season. But for drivers, winter is filled with snow, ice, sleet and freezing rain that can create hazardous road and driving conditions.

There is nothing as scary as having your car skid on snow or ice, leaving you helpless and struggling to bring it under control. Watching your speed and learning how to use your brakes effectively can help you drive safely in winter weather. Check out these tips to help you navigate the slick roads that winter weather brings.

Drive smoothly

Driving smoothly is the best way to safely to drive on snow and ice-covered roads. This means making no sudden movements like turning the steering wheel aggressively or some other action that might cause you to lose traction and control of your vehicle.

Come to a gradual stop


When approaching an intersection or stop sign, slow down gradually. By taking your foot off the gas well ahead of the intersection, you can avoid having to use your brakes as much. The less you have to hit your brakes; it reduces your risk of rear-ending a vehicle ahead of you or sliding through an intersection or stop sign.

Don’t slam your brakes

Slamming on your brakes can immediately put you in a skid. If you feel like you’re getting into trouble, gradually let off the accelerator, doing this will help you regain control of the vehicle.

Slow down


Don’t drive too fast for road and weather conditions. Driving too fast can cause you to skid or slide and lose control of your vehicle. Driving slower not only gives you more control of your car but it also gives you more time to react other drivers and road conditions.

Don’t tailgate

Don’t follow other cars too closely. On snow and ice, you need more time to come to a safe stop. You can achieve this by increasing the distance between you and other drivers. In good weather it is recommended to keep at least two seconds between you and the car ahead of you. In winter weather, increase the time to six seconds or more depending on how bad the conditions are.

Use your A.B.S. brakes correctly


Anti-lock brakes are one of the most important safety systems on your vehicle. ABS brakes are an advanced braking system that works with your regular brakes by automatically pumping them. To activate the ABS brakes, press firmly down on the brake pedal – don’t let up. You’ll notice some pulsating and possibly a growling sound – this is normal.

Please note that ABS brakes don’t work well on ice – the wheels can still lock up. Use the above tips to safely come to a stop and don’t rely on your ABS brakes when driving on icy roads.


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The content contained in this article is for entertainment and informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein. Under no circumstances will we be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.

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