(State of Colorado)


8. Safe driving tips


8.10. Bad weather

In bad weather conditions such as rain, fog, ice, wind, and dust you should slow your speed and drive at a speed that is safe for conditions. When roads are wet they may become very slippery when water mixes with oil, grease, and exhaust particles on the roadway. These conditions affect ALL types of vehicles including: Front wheel drive, sport utility, 4-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive vehicles.

Hydroplaning is a natural phenomenon whereby the water forms a very thin, but very strong, film on the highway. This film can actually support your vehicle. Your tires may have absolutely no contact with the roadway. This is extremely dangerous for you have little or no control of your vehicle. A vehicle may hydroplane at speeds as low as 50 m.p.h. in water one-eighth of an inch deep. If it feels like your tires have lost traction with the surface of the road you should:

- Ease your foot off the gas pedal or,

- If engaged, immediately turn off your cruise control and allow your vehicle to slow down and regain traction. If the highway is wet or icy, do not use cruise control.

- Keep the steering wheel straight.

- Do not try to stop or turn until your tires are gripping the road again.

An increasing number of new vehicles are equipped with rear fog lights. These lights help to reduce rear-end collisions in severe weather conditions. If your vehicle is equipped with rear fog lights use them while driving in heavy fog, rain or similar weather conditions. Be sure to switch them off once the conditions clear.

8.10a SNOW AND ICE: Streets and highways covered with snow, snowpack or ice are extremely hazardous. They are most hazardous when the snow or ice begins to melt. The slush or wet surface acts as a lubricant and traction is reduced. Overpasses, bridges, shaded areas and snow packed portions of the road can be icy even when other pavement is not.

If you begin to skid, let up on the accelerator and turn the front wheels in the direction of the skid.

Here are a few simple precautions which you should follow:

1. Make sure your tires have good tread for adequate traction. In winter, chains or snow tires are certainly preferable. (However, remember that even chains and snow tires will slip on slick pavement.)

2. Make sure your brakes are in good condition and properly adjusted so that the braking power of each wheel is uniform.

ANTI-LOCK BRAKES: Apply the brakes with hard firm pressure from the start of the skid and maintain this pressure until you have stopped. You may feel or hear vibrations and/or pulsations. This is normal.

NO ANTI-LOCK BRAKES: Threshold breaking: Apply the brakes just hard enough to not lock the wheels, release and apply the brakes the same way again.

3. Keep the windows clear by making certain the defrosters and windshield wipers are working properly. Use a good window scraper to remove all ice, snow, and frost even if you are just traveling a short distance. Fogging or condensation of moisture on the inside of the windshield can quickly be removed by opening the side vent windows.

4. Be alert for snow plows and sanding trucks. They use flashing yellow and blue lights as a warning for you to use extreme caution when approaching or passing them.

5. Maintain an extra large space between you and the car ahead.

6. Start gradually by using a low gear and accelerating gently.


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