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Warnings for driving in winter

Remember that 4-wheel drive only helps you get going, and does nothing when trying to stop. If you drive a 4WD vehicle, don’t be overconfident; you are not invincible.
Even if you’re a good winter driver and have a very capable vehicle, keep in mind that there are other drivers on the road who are less capable of controlling their car.
Engine braking is not necessarily the best way to slow down on slippy roads. It is not quite as likely to cause a skid as the service brakes, however, it can still cause a skid, and if it does, it is very hard to recover. Instead of relying on the engine to slow the car, shift to neutral and use the service brakes very gently. If you do not have ABS, pulse the pedal if any wheel starts to skid. On cars with ABS (most modern cars) the brakes will automatically prevent you from skidding if you use them too hard; you should not pulse the pedal on cars with ABS.
If you end up idling with your engine on to stay warm, crack the door here and there to make sure that deadly gases (especially carbon monoxide) don’t build up in your car. Sometimes having the window open is not enough. Open the door for approximately 20 seconds to exchange the air in your car.
Before putting chains on your vehicle make sure to read your owner’s manual. Some vehicles prohibit putting chains on the tires and can seriously damage the vehicle. It is also important to check the laws regarding tire chains in your state. Some states prohibit using chains due to excessive wear and tear on the roadways.
Never park your car on a hill/gradient in freezing temperatures. Even though your car may stay in place for a while, melt on the tires will eventually run down and re-freeze underneath the tire. The ice will build up over time, slowly detaching the tire from the road. At some point the buildup may be enough that your car is no longer touching the road, and your car will start to slide down the slope!
Do not drive if you are sleepy or you have had alcohol. Being wide awake and sober is essential for driving safely in any condition.
Never keep your vehicle in 4-wheel drive for long periods of time if you have it. Most 4-wheel drive vehicles are part-time, which means that they normally drive on 2 wheels and switch to 4 wheels when the going gets tough. Running in 4-wheel drive mode all the time will cause a lot of additional wear and tear on your drivetrain and it will significantly reduce the lifespan of your vehicle.
A good visualization technique is to imagine that a raw egg is sitting under your accelerator pedal. No more speeding!
A pleasant, sunny day is no guarantee that you will have good driving conditions. Watch out for black ice, which is a layer of ice so thin that it takes on the color of the roadway. People are less careful when hazards (such as black ice) are less obvious, so watch your own driving habits and those of the cars around you.
Front-wheel drive vehicles may lose traction to the front wheels if the driver removes his or her foot from the gas pedal while taking a curve on an icy or snowy road. This is because of drag caused by compression that takes place in nearly all automobile engines. However, if the vehicle has a manual transmission, putting the clutch in will eliminate this drag, and help the front wheels maintain traction. Otherwise, the driver can use caution by maintaining just enough gas pedal pressure to avoid engine drag. This may require practice in a safe, open, icy location.

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