Tips for Winter Driving:
If you live somewhere that temperatures drop below freezing, you know how important it is to have a reliable and safe vehicle in the winter, and to be prepared. Snow and ice on the roads is difficult and often frightening to maneuver, but if you know how to drive safely and what to watch out for you’ll feel much more at ease when you have to be on the road. Below are some tips for winter driving.
Have a Safe Vehicle:
- Most importantly, you need a vehicle that is built to handle hazardous weather conditions. This means the vehicle should have four-wheel drive and ground clearance so you don’t get stuck in heavy snow. If your budget allows for extra features consider traction control or a car like the Kia Sorento with advanced electronic stability control systems. Other popular cars include the Subaru Outback, or any Subaru for that matter, the Jeep Grand Cherokee, or the Toyota Sienna.
- Tires, Tires, Tires.
At the very least, your car needs to have snow tires. In fact, in some areas it’s illegal not to have snow tires. Snow tires have more defined tread patterns that are better for traction on snow and ice as well as studs that enhance grip. If you know you’ll be driving on particularly shoddy backroads, consider using snow chains which you put on your tires for even better traction.
- Be Prepared:
In winter conditions, you never know when you might end up on the side of the road. Always keep blankets, flares, and flashlights in your car so that if you do end up in the ditch you’ll be able to stay warm and visible.
- Clear Snow and Ice on Your Vehicle:
Make sure your car is ready to drive. If there is excess snow on the top of your car, make sure you clear it off or else if you have to brake quickly it can fall onto your windshield and block your vision. With this, take the time to scrape off ice from your windows, not just in front of the driver’s seat, so you have clear vision all around. Lastly, always allow time for your engine to warm up if it’s been off for a few hours.
- Driving in the Snow:
Of course, drive slowly in winter conditions. Leave extra room between you and the car in front of you as you won’t stop as easily on snowy roads. If you start to skid, steer into it, for example, if the rear of your car starts to skid to the right, steer to the right in order to reduce further skidding. If you’re going down a steep hill, don’t hold your foot on the brakes to slow your car. Instead, pump your brakes, this makes it so your wheels don’t lock and slide down the hill.
Most of us would agree that we would rather just not drive in the snow at all, and this is sometimes a good option, it’s important to recognize when weather conditions are simply too harsh for driving. However, if you live in an area with a snowy winter climate, it’s inevitable that you’ll be on the roads during poor conditions at some point. Being aware, prepared, and knowledgeable about what is necessary when driving in winter conditions is important for your safety and others on the road.