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November 22, 2021

Winter driving

Lessons learned

David Rumsey

It was blistering cold as I made my way up 35W in route to Duluth. It wasn’t long before I realized I was nearly out of windshield washer fluid. Layers of road salt film continually called for more washer fluid until finally it was gone. With visibility declining by the moment I exited to refill at the nearest gas station, but my trip ended suddenly in an unseen snowbank. I learned a valuable lesson that day - be prepared. I should have filled the washer fluid sooner, I should have had an extra gallon in the trunk, and I should have pulled over when visibility was poor. 

Another lesson I’ve learned is the value of winter tires. I never considered them before, but after testing them on a company vehicle I was amazed by the difference they make. Watch this brief video for more information on winter tires. 

Here’s a winter driving tip that I’ve learned from many years of winter driving - brake & accelerate in straight lines. When combined with slowing down in poor winter conditions, this method is one of the best ways to maintain control of your vehicle. Slow down BEFORE entering a curve, and carefully accelerate when the vehicle is moving straight ahead. Practicing this technique will help you maintain control and avoid the ditch. 

If you’re accustomed to winter driving then this next tip will resonate - follow the leader especially when there is slush on the roads. Stay in the tire tracks already established whenever possible, and choose the best path to maintain control. Leaving the established paths should be avoided as heavy snow & slush can cause your vehicle to spin out. 

Another interesting winter driving tip comes from one of our clients who provides all of their drivers with a bag of chicken grit. It’s basically crushed oyster shells that have sharp edges.  Drivers use the product to provide traction for a stuck vehicle, or for slippery walkways during deliveries. 

This winter avoid learning lessons the hard way. Be prepared. Drive safely, and ensure that your tires have plenty of tread for safe winter travels.