Now that the snow has finally made its way to Madison and the campus area, it’s time for a refresher on some winter driving tips! Even us experienced Wisconsin drivers could use a few reminders every once in a while…
First and foremost, if you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. If you do need to venture out, before you drive, clean ice and snow off of ALL your windows. Wisconsin law requires your vehicle windows to be kept “reasonably clean at all times.”
Next, slow down! The posted speed limits are designed for optimal driving conditions. Remember: it takes longer to slow down on snow or ice covered roads. Driving trucks or other large SUV’s may give you a false sense of security and may actually do more harm than good. Another good tip is to know what kind of brakes your vehicle is equipped with. If your vehicle has antilock brakes, pressing firmly on the brake pedal is the best option to try and stop your vehicle. For those vehicles without antilock brakes, using a “pumping“ technique is usually the best option.
If that less than magical scenario occurs where your vehicle becomes stalled or stuck in the snow, do what you can to keep your vehicle visible to other drivers — including keeping your lights on and activating your emergency flashers. Make sure to have a local tow company or local non-emergency police phone number pre-programmed in your phone.
If you are out driving and you encounter a snow plow, PLEASE give them space. Wisconsin law prohibits following a snow plow that is actively maintaining winter roads at a distance closer than 75 feet where the posted speed limit is 35mph or less. That distance increases to 200 feet for posted speed limits greater than 35mph.
Following these simple winter driving tips will keep you and everybody else on the road safe. Enjoy the snow and be safe!