We love it. We hate it. That white, powdery precipitation of winter. While it falls, it’s a picturesque delight of nature. When it lands, it’s a different story. Snow, while beautiful, can be a dangerous, slippery traveling surface. Driving in the snow may be unavoidable, but there are things you can do to keep yourself safe, if you must venture out onto the white stuff on wheels.
A few things to keep in mind when driving in the snow:
Take your time
Maximize traction by accelerating and decelerating gradually, giving your tires time to catch up without spinning out of control. Slow down as you approach stop signs, stoplights and intersections, so you don’t skid into traffic. It takes twice as long to safely stop on slippery surfaces. Drive slowly! The only thing worse than being late for an appointment, is getting into a crash on the way. When driving in the snow, give yourself time to safely maneuver a vehicle over snow and ice. Slow down!
Know your car
Do you have an anti-lock brake system (ABS)? Get a feel for this helpful mechanism so you know how and when it will activate. If you don’t have an ABS system, learn to pump your brakes.
Slow down before you stop
In some cases, it is a safer option to take your foot off the gas, and let the car roll to a complete stop. If you can slow down and roll to a stop, it is much safer than a hard stop which can send you skidding into oncoming traffic. Sometimes, slowing is better than stopping.
Prepare for hills
Don’t wait until you approach a hill to apply extra gas. You’ll simply spin your wheels. When driving in the snow, wherever possible, gently and gradually speed up just enough to gain some momentum so you can easily overcome the hill without the need to accelerate on your way over. Once you’ve crested the top, slow down and allow gravity to gradually pull you over. Brake gently and slowly.
If you don’t need to go out, don’t. Despite your ability – or inability – to maneuver through snow, you have no control over other drivers. You don’t know how others may handle treacherous weather. If possible, avoid the roads altogether.
If you absolutely must find yourself driving in the snow, follow these tips to ensure you make it to your destination safe and sound.
If this winter, you find yourself the victim of a car crash, tell us your story. We’re here to help.