8 Tips For Driving In The Snow
by Sarah DeLuca
The first major snowfall of the year is always exciting. When you’re cuddled up inside and looking out your window at the beauty of winter, all you can think about is building a snowman and getting another mug of hot chocolate.
When it’s time to drive to work the next day, however, the reality sets in that snowfall means icy roads and dangerous driving conditions.
Stay safe this winter with these tips for driving in the snow:
- Slow down and increase your following distance
Black ice and melted slush are just a few reasons why the road may be slippery during this time of year, so slow down your speed and give the car in front of you some extra space. This will give you plenty of time and distance to safely hit the brakes, since stopping your car on slippery surfaces will not be as easy as it would be on the dry roads.
- Know your brakes
Does your car have anti-lock brakes or standard brakes? Knowing this information about your vehicle is crucial for safely stopping your car and managing skids when driving in the snow.
If you have anti-lock brakes, remember to keep a consistent pressure on your brake pedal because the system will automatically pump the brakes (something that you would need to do yourself with standard brakes).
- Protect your windshield
In order to drive safely, you need a clear windshield. At the start of the season, make sure that you have plenty of windshield washer fluid and that your defroster is functioning properly.
- Prepare a winter toolkit
Putting together a toolkit and keeping it in your car during the winter months will ensure that you’re prepared for any kind of snowy problem. Include an ice scraper and a shovel for snow removal and visibility, a flashlight and jumper cables in case your battery needs a boost, and some sand or salt to give your car some traction if you get stuck in the snow.
- Don’t drive with a near-empty gas tank
Try to keep your tank at least half-full when going for a drive in snowy weather. That way, if you find yourself stranded or in an emergency situation, you have enough fuel to keep warm.
However, If you must run the engine to stay warm while you’re parked, make sure that your exhaust pipe is not blocked by snow and that your window is slightly cracked to prevent any buildup of carbon monoxide.
- Use the proper tires
Whether this means adding chains, investing in a set of all-season tires, or switching to snow tires, figure out which tire option works best for you and your environment.
- Don’t drive if you don’t need to
It is important to keep your driving to a minimum during snowstorms or blizzards. If you can manage to avoid driving in the snow fall altogether, that would be ideal because the road conditions are extremely dangerous.
If you must venture out into the cold, however, be sure to stay focused on the road and let somebody know your driving plans—this will keep you (and everybody around you) safer this season!