Safe Driving On Ski Trips Part 2 If You Get In Trouble

Whether you’re leaving the city heading to​ the Mammoth Mountain/Lake Tahoe High Sierra country for​ its beauty and​ relaxation, or​ planning that ski trip from Scottsdale to​ Snowbowl, here are some tips for​ a​ safe and​ pleasant journey, and​ how to​ deal with trouble, should it​ arise.

Slow down. a​ highway speed of​ 65 miles per hour may be safe in​ dry weather, but an​ invitation​ for​ trouble on​ snow and​ ice. Snow and​ ice make stopping distances much longer, so keep your​ seat belt buckled and​ leave more distance between your​ vehicle and​ the vehicle ahead. Look farther ahead in​ traffic. Actions by other drivers will alert you​ to​ problems and​ give you​ extra seconds to​ react. Remember to​ avoid sudden stops and​ quick direction​ changes. Do everything slowly and​ gently. Anticipate turns and​ stops. Leave plenty of​ distance between you​ and​ other cars. Drive as​ if​ there were eggs on​ the bottom of​ your​ feet; step on​ the gas and​ the brake pedals so gently that you​ don't break the eggshell. Trucks take longer to​ stop, so don't cut in​ front of​ them.

Watch out for​ fog; it​ drifts rapidly and​ often is​ patchy. in​ foggy conditions, drive very slowly using lowered headlights. Don't hang on​ to​ the taillights of​ the vehicle in​ front. this​ gives you​ a​ false sense of​ security and​ means you​ may be driving too close. Don't speed up suddenly, even if​ it​ seems to​ be clearing. you​ can find yourself suddenly back in​ thick fog.

if​ you​ should find yourself stuck, turn your​ wheels from side to​ side a​ few times to​ push snow out of​ the way. Keep a​ light touch on​ the gas, and​ ease forward. Don't spin​ your​ wheels; you'll just dig in​ deeper. Rocking the vehicle is​ another way to​ get unstuck. (Check your​ owner's manual first, as​ it​ can damage the transmission​ on​ some vehicles.) Shift gently from forward to​ reverse, and​ back again.

The best approach to​ recovering from a​ skid is​ the same for​ both front and​ rear-wheel drive vehicles. if​ your​ rear wheels start to​ skid, turn the steering wheel in​ the direction​ you​ want the front wheels to​ go. if​ your​ rear wheels are sliding left, steer left. if​ they're sliding right, steer right. as​ you​ continue to​ correct, you​ may have to​ steer left and​ right a​ few times to​ get your​ vehicle completely under control.

if​ your​ front wheels skid, take your​ foot off the gas and​ shift to​ neutral, but don’t try to​ steer immediately. as​ the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and​ traction​ will return. as​ it​ does, steer in​ the direction​ you​ want to​ go and​ accelerate gently.

if​ your​ car has an​ anti-lock braking system (ABS), keep your​ foot on​ the pedal. if​ not, pump the pedal gently, pumping more rapidly as​ your​ car slows down. Braking hard with non-anti-lock brakes will lock the wheels and​ make the skid worse.

Do not use a​ mobile phone while driving. Stop somewhere safe or​ ask a​ passenger to​ make the call. on​ a​ freeway, it​ is​ better to​ use a​ roadside emergency telephone, because the emergency services will be able to​ locate you​ easily. if​ you​ have to​ use a​ mobile phone, make sure you​ know your​ location​ from the numbers on​ the marker posts on​ the side of​ the road.

if​ your​ car gets stuck out on​ the road run the heater every 10 minutes but never fall asleep with the car running. in​ blizzard conditions, especially overnight, make sure one person​ stays awake, because help could take some time to​ arrive. Maintain​ circulation​ by moving your​ feet, hands, and​ arms. Avoid alcohol. it​ lowers body temperature and​ will cause you​ to​ become drowsy. Stay in​ the vehicle. Don't wander and​ get lost or​ frostbitten. Leave one window cracked open. Freezing winds and​ wet, driving snow can quickly seal a​ vehicle. Clean any snow from around the end of​ the tail pipe to​ prevent carbon​ monoxide buildup. Clear outside heater vents -- that’s the grill under the windshield.

Signal to​ other motorists that you're stranded by using flares or​ flashlights, or​ by tying a​ piece of​ brightly colored cloth to​ the radio antenna and​ using your​ “Help” sign.

So, whether you’re to​ stay at​ Aspen, Scottsdale or​ Vail, there’s much more involved than just finding discounted hotel accommodations; be sure to​ plan a​ safe and​ pleasant trip!

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