Did you know that more people are killed or injured driving in the snow than by enduring any other natural disasters like hurricanes or tornadoes?
If you’ve ever tried driving during inclement weather, you understand the many dangers drivers face. Although it’s best to avoid driving whenever there is snowy or icy roads, life doesn’t stop for any storm.
If you have to face the elements, being an educated, prepared driver could save your life. Keep reading to learn the 8 best tips for driving in snow.
1. How to Drive in Snow: Go Slow and Give Yourself Room
The most common cause of accidents during winter is people driving too fast. When you don’t adjust your speed to the road conditions, you’re more likely to drift and crash.
The bigger your car is, the more time you’ll need to stop. Regardless of how heavy your car is, you should always try to leave 8 seconds of braking time to give yourself a cushion. Even if you have a car equipped with the best safety features, your car will continue sliding as you brake.
The slower you go, the less damage you, your car, and other drivers will sustain if there is a collision. If you’re self-conscious about your speed, make sure you drive in the right lane so other drivers can pass you. Remember: it’s always better to arrive somewhere late rather than to not arrive at all.
2. Tips for Driving in Snow: How to Master Hills
The idea of driving in hilly terrain in winter can make even the coldest person break out in a sweat. Although there are more tricks involved with conquering hills, it is possible.
The first tip is to make sure you have enough speed before you reach the start of a hill. Momentum is your friend when trekking up inclines.
If you’re worried you don’t have enough speed, never hit the gas. If you try to book it, your tires will roll yet go nowhere. Instead, switch into a lower gear for better traction and chug slowly up the hill.
Try not to come to a complete stop when driving on hills. The worst thing that could happen is you start to slide back and hit a car behind you.
Once you reach the top, start braking slowly. Gravity is going to pull your car down the hill. If you’re not careful, you could descend too quickly and hit a snowbank or another driver.
3. Keep Your Trunk Stocked
You should always have the tools stored in your car for emergencies. During the winter, you should keep a shovel, an ice scraper, gas, a bag of salt, blankets, food, and water, and a flashlight on hand.
Salt or other abrasive materials like sand or even kitty litter can get you out of many slippery situations. If you ever get stuck, dump some salt around your tires to give your wheels more traction to grip the road.
4. Tips for Driving in Snow and Ice: Upgrade Your Tires
Every time you drive, your tires sustain wear and tear that diminishes their traction. During the winter, you’re going to need all the help you can to combat ice.
Updating your car so that it has the best tires equipped to handle winter terrain is the best way to avoid accidents. We recommend trying these tyres or other designs with lots of grip.
5. Driving in Icy Conditions: Never Jerk the Wheel
Even the most experienced drivers will experience drifting on the roads in the wintertime. If you start to feel your car slipping away from the road, don’t panic and jerk the wheel. This could cause you to spin out of control if there’s ice present.
Instead, steer the car slowly back into the direction you want to go. Don’t try to make adjustments to cancel out any tugging. You don’t have to think so hard.
6. Stay Up to Date on All Car Maintenance
You should always take your car to the mechanic for a winter tune-up. This could involve changing your tires, switching motor oil, restocking wiper fluid, charging your battery, and much more.
There are plenty of things that can go wrong while driving in the winter. Luckily, your mechanic will know which things need fortifying so that you can stay safe during these chilly months.
7. Start Your Car 5 Minutes Early to Defrost Your Windows
Let’s face it: most of us aren’t morning people. We’re all guilty of rushing out the door and booking it to work, school, or any other engagements.
During the winter, it pays off to plan ahead, even if it is only 5 minutes in the future. Before you make breakfast, brew your coffee, or do any other morning routine tasks, head out to your car and clear the snow from the windows and roof.
Once you’ve removed all the snow, start the engine and make sure your defroster is on both the front and rear windshields. Snow is easy to clear by hand, but ice can be stubborn.
Heating your car up for a few minutes will ensure that you’ll have full visibility when you drive. Your future self will also thank you once you get to enjoy a cozy car during your commute. Starting your morning off by gripping a freezing wheel and being able to see your breath can make you grumpy for hours to come.
8. Drive in Snow Tips: Check Weather and Traffic Reports Before You Leave
The last important tip you should heed during the winter is to check weather and traffic reports before you get into your vehicle.
This foresight can help you plan your route and how long you should stay out. If you know a major snowstorm is coming, you can have enough time to get to the store and stock up on supplies and tend to other errands.
Driving on roads that aren’t backed up with traffic can eliminate a lot of stress. You should aim to stick to well-known roads that are well-maintained. However, if you can take a small detour to avoid traffic traps, it’s worth the peace of mind.
Want More Driving Tips?
Now that you know the best tips for driving in snow, you can feel safer behind the wheel. Staying aware of your surroundings is the best preventative measure you can take while driving during any season.
If you want to stay up to date on all automotive tips, news, and manuals, Certified Master Tech can make you become a master of machines. For more ways to stay safe while you drive, be sure to check out our blog.