This time around on Jill of All Trades, Jill shows us a couple of quick, easy driving tips to make winter travel safer.

The first thing that Jill does when the roads are snowy or icy is test the traction. She does this by driving a little slow on a neighborhood street and giving the steering wheel a slight, gentle wiggle back and forth. Jill says, if the traction is good where you are, the car will respond ever so slightly by moving back and forth. If the car does not respond at all, that tells you that the traction is not good.

Next, while still driving slowly, Jill will hit the brakes hard to test the stopping power on the road conditions. If the car has difficulty stopping, or if she feels the anti-lock brakes pulsing, she knows that conditions are slick enough to require extra stopping time and distance.  If the car stops easily, she knows the roads are decent. She often tests this a couple of times to make sure what the conditions require.

Keep in mind that road conditions can changes along your route. You may want to test conditions again on different roads or in different areas.

Last, if you live in an area where deer are prevalent, Jill offers one more tip. If a deer darts in front of your vehicle and hitting it is unavoidable, experts recommend NOT hitting the brakes hard. Braking hard draws the front end of your vehicle down. That increases the chances of the deer coming up over the hood and possibly through the windshield, which can be catastrophic. Jill says, as an animal lover, it’s counterintuitive to not hit the brakes, but if you can have the presence of mind, in that moment, to do it, it can be life-saving.

Hopefully, these driving tips will keep you rolling along safely through the winter conditions.  Be careful out there!

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