Winter driving doesn’t have to give you chills

Like it or love it, we all get to experience winter here at UVM. And considering how hard it is to find parking during the frozen months, it’s safe to say that all most as many of us get to experience driving in winter.For those of you who have been anxiously awaiting an installment of The Steering Column to be relevant to your life, your day has come. Cut this out and put it on your fridge.If you haven’t figured it out already, driving in the snow and ice is a little different than driving in the summer. Things are slippery, it’s harder to see and easier to get stuck.A culprit of many winter crashes is locking brakes. When you start to slide out of control, it may feel instinctive to hit the brakes to reduce your speed. This isn’t always a great strategy because locking your brakes up turns your wheels into skids, and diminishes your ability to turn.Even modern anti-lock brakes can’t save you completely from this phenomenon. Instead of braking, put your faith in the throttle. A gentle boost of gas can get you back on track more often than people think.Subtly is key. Don’t slam any pedals or throw the wheel around. This will help you stay in control and make you look sexier.Getting stuck is also a common problem, especially if you don’t have four-wheel drive. Depending on how stuck you are, you can sometimes get out by rocking back and forth between First/Drive and Reverse.It also helps to have a small shovel in the trunk to dig yourself free.Slippery starts on hills or at green lights can be embarrassing, so to avoid losing traction when starting on ice, try starting in second gear, or utilizing the “winter” mode if you have a modern automatic transmission.Even though you love making tracks in fresh powder, winter is your car’s worst enemy. Salt eats away at the undercarriage, the cold drains power from the battery, and the smell of marijuana tends to linger because no one wants to roll the windows down.But there are things you can do to make the white season easier on your vehicle.Wash your car regularly. Even though it will get dirty again right away, you want to minimize the amount of salt on your car’s metal, especially the unpainted parts on the bottom. This will help you avoid rust.When leaving your car for the night, prop your windshield wipers up so they don’t freeze to the glass.Avoid using your radio, lights and other electronics when the car isn’t running, because the cold puts extra strain on your battery and if it dies you’ll be … well, out in the cold.Research these and more winter driving techniques in greater detail to enjoy safe motoring this winter, and for many more winters to come.