Winter Driving Safety Tips in Vermont
These days you can never be sure when the next nor’easter will blow into Vermont. Weather can be unpredictable, and winter can catch even the most-experienced drivers by surprise. Having many winters behind you is helpful, but having a great vehicle, the proper tools, and good driving technique is key.
Winter Driving In Vermont
I recently had the opportunity to test drive several vehicles in the 2018 GMC Denali fleet. As I made my way to Stowe Mountain Resort driving a Yukon Denali, it immediately became apparent that advanced engineering goes into every GMC. I found GMC’s full-sized luxury SUV to have the perfect combination of luxury, technology and safety features.
It was incredibly reassuring to know that safety comes standard on every new GMC vehicle in the form of StabiliTrak with traction control, anti-lock brakes, tire pressure monitoring, and OnStar connectivity. The comprehensive suite of Driver Alert and advanced safety technologies helped me see where I could not. Additionally, four-wheel or all-wheel drive systems are available on every GMC model making it an ideal choice for your daily commute or ski trip.
What to Keep in The Car
Even the most-capable vehicles cannot overcome the laws of physics, so they need to be properly equipped for winter weather. That begins with a set of important supplies, many of which can be packed away as helpful tools and emergency aids, but every vehicle should have at least some of these basics:
- Ice scraper to clear windshield, windows, and all snow off the roof, which can otherwise blow off and impede other motorists.
- Jumper cables because batteries are more susceptible to power drains in cold- weather conditions.
- Cat litter or spare floor mat to be used for added traction if the vehicle gets stuck. A small shovel and a 50-foot tow strap are useful for freeing stranded vehicles, too.
- Cell phone to call for outside help. And don’t forget to have a charger in the vehicle. GM vehicles equipped with OnStar also offer a built-in lifeline.
- Emergency supplies including extra warm clothes or a blanket, a flashlight with extra batteries, food and water, and a small first aid kit.
A vehicle’s preparedness starts with tires. Ensure they have adequate tread and air pressure, and never drive on summer tires when the temperatures drop. All-season tires are appropriate in most conditions, but if driving consistently on snow-covered roads, winter tires can offer more traction. Four-wheel or all-wheel drive systems are available on every GMC model.
It’s important for the driver to be prepared as well. Find a comfortable seating position where the brake pedal can be depressed completely, controls are easy to reach, and then adjust the mirrors for optimum range of view. Also get in the mindset of keeping your fuel tank from going below a quarter-tank to avoid running out of gas.
Being well rested is a good idea in any driving situation, but it’s especially important in winter when sharp responses are a necessity. Dress warm but remember that thick boots or gloves can dull feedback from the steering and brakes. Additionally, overheating can lead to drowsiness.
On the Road
Once on the road, staying safe is about execution. Making smooth, deliberate inputs to the brakes, throttle, and steering prevent unexpected vehicle movement, and keeping your eyes far down the road helps your brain prepare for both changes in the road and the actions of other drivers.
Understanding road surfaces is also a good way to prepare for surprises. Test the brakes on a straight, flat section of road. If the vehicle’s ABS system makes a pulsing noise without much pedal pressure, slow your speed and use caution. Ice is the most unpredictable surface any driver will ever experience. It becomes most dangerous at temperatures of about 30 degrees and higher when ice could be covered by a thin layer of water.
When snow, sleet, and freezing rain make roads messy, it’s better to be over-prepared than over-confident. The Denali line of cars, trucks or SUVs are the perfect choice for conquering any kind of winter driving conditions in Vermont.
Disclosure: Complimentary use of the GMC Yukon Denali as well as lodging, meals, and activities were provided by GMC. No other compensation was received for this review. This post reflects the honest opinion of my experience without outside influence.
Photo Credit: Photos by Talisman Brolin for GMC. © 2018 TalismanPHOTO and General Motors