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2.13.2 – Driving In Winter

Slippery Surfaces. Drive slowly and smoothly on slippery roads. If it is very slippery, you should not drive at all. Stop at the first safe place.

Start Gently and Slowly. When first starting, get the feel of the road. Do not hurry.

Check for Ice. Check for ice on the road, especially bridges and overpasses. A lack of spray from other vehicles indicates ice has formed on the road. Also, check your mirrors and wiper blades for ice. If they have ice, the road most likely will be icy as well.

Adjust Turning and Braking to Conditions. Make turns as gently as possible. Do not brake any harder than necessary and do not use the engine brake or speed retarder. They can cause the driving wheels to skid on slippery surfaces.

Adjust Speed to Conditions. Do not pass slower vehicles unless necessary. Go slowly and watch far enough ahead to keep a steady speed. Avoid having to slow down and speed up. Take curves at slower speeds and do not brake while in curves. Be aware that as the temperature rises to the point where ice begins to melt, the road becomes even more slippery. Slow down more.

Adjust Space to Conditions. Do not drive alongside other vehicles. Keep a longer following distance. When you see a traffic jam ahead, slow down or stop to wait for it to clear. Try hard to anticipate stops early and slow down gradually. Watch for snowplows, as well as salt and sand trucks, and give them plenty of room.

Wet Brakes. When driving in heavy rain or deep standing water, your brakes will get wet. Water in the brakes can cause the brakes to be weak, to apply unevenly, or to grab. This can cause a lack of braking power, wheel lockups, pulling to one side or the other, and jackknife if you pull a trailer.

Avoid driving through deep puddles or flowing water if possible. If not, you should:

  • Slow down and place transmission in a low gear.
  • Gently put on the brakes. This presses linings against brake drums or discs and keeps mud, silt, sand, and water from getting in.
  • Increase engine rpm and cross the water while keeping light pressure on the brakes.
  • When out of the water, maintain light pressure on the brakes for a short distance to heat them up and dry them out.
  • Make a test stop when safe to do so. Check behind to make sure no one is following and then apply the brakes to be sure they work well. If not, dry them out further as described above. (Caution: Do not apply too much brake pressure and accelerator at the same time, or you can overheat the brake drums and linings.)

Multiple-Choice Questions:

Question #127 (1 of 4)

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Water in the brakes can cause the brakes to:

  • Overheat from the steam during evaporation
  • Fail completely
  • Water has no potential effect on the braking force
  • Be weak, to apply unevenly, or to grab

Wet Brakes. When driving in heavy rain or deep standing water, your brakes will get wet. Water in the brakes can cause the brakes to be weak, to apply unevenly, or to grab. This can cause a lack of braking power, wheel lockups, pulling to either side, and jackknife if you pull a trailer.

Wet brakes in the winter can be a problem. The water can cause the brakes to freeze after you're parked. Before parking in the winter, drag your brakes a little while going through the parking lot. The heat will evaporate the water.
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Question #125 (2 of 4)

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On snowy or icy roads, what happens as the temperature warms, and the ice begins to melt?

  • The road does not become more or less slippery
  • The road becomes less slippery
  • The road becomes even more slippery
  • The water over top of the ice gives the tires a little extra grip

Adjust Speed to Conditions. Do not pass slower vehicles unless necessary. Go slowly and watch far enough ahead to keep a steady speed. Avoid having to slow down and speed up. Take curves at slower speeds and do not brake while in curves. Be aware that as the temperature rises to where ice melts, the road becomes even more slippery. Slow down more.

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Question #124 (3 of 4)

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Should you use engine brakes on slick roads, and why?

  • No. They can cause the driving wheels to skid on slippery surfaces.
  • No. The tires can't take the additional forces from the additional braking power.
  • Yes. Engine brakes spread the braking force over the entire set of tires.
  • Yes. The safest way to stop on slick roads is with the engine brakes.

Adjust Turning and Braking to Conditions. Make turns as gently as possible. Do not brake any harder than necessary and do not use the engine brake or speed retarder. They can cause the driving wheels to skid on slippery surfaces.

Be extremely careful with engine brakes on wet or snowy roads. Engine brakes apply all of their braking power to the drive tires only. The high amount of braking force concentrated on only a few tires can cause the tires to break loose. Using the foot brake distributes the braking force over all the tires on the vehicle which helps prevent any tires from breaking loose.
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Question #123 (4 of 4)

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A lack of spray from the tires of other vehicles on a road that looks wet indicates what?

  • The road surface will be prone to hydroplaning
  • Temperatures are far warmer than freezing
  • Ice has formed on the road
  • Tire pressures on that vehicle are low

Check for Ice. Check for ice on the road, especially bridges and overpasses. A lack of spray from other vehicles indicates ice has formed on the road. Also, check your mirrors and wiper blades for ice. If they have ice, the road most likely will be icy as well.

Also, look at your mirror bracket to see if any ice has formed. This can be a good indicator of ice on the road.
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