How to Drive in Snow
Driving in snow can be scary for even the most experienced driver. Depending on the severity of the snowfall, it may be somewhat impossible to even get on the road. However, life does not stop just because the weather is bad. People still have to drive in dangerous weather all the time – for work, for family, or because they’ve been caught in a squall.
Is it Safe to Drive in the Snow?
Driving in the snow and on ice can be challenging for beginner and experienced drivers alike. The worst thing a drive can do is to underestimate the weather and, in turn, overestimate their ability to navigate the conditions. Driving in snow can be dangerous, yes, and it is advised to stay off the roads if you can avoid it. However, for many people, that is not an option.
Why Driving in the Snow Can Be Dangerous
Surprisingly, a thin layer of snow can be more dangerous for driving than a thicker layer because less snow melts more quickly and can easily refreeze into ice. If you find yourself sliding on ice while driving, stay calm. Do not hit your brakes. Turn your vehicle into the slide (the same direction the back of your car is sliding) to try and keep it as straight as possible.
You should also be on the lookout for black ice. While difficult to spot, your headlights should work to reflect this dangerous ice at night. It usually forms on bridges, in the shadows of buildings, and at crossroads, where snow or rainwater drains.
Tips for Driving in the Snow
Driving in the snow can be tricky, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Many of the tips associated with driving in the rain can be used to drive in the snow. Here are tips to consider when driving in the snow:
- Turn on your headlights
- Don’t slam on your brakes
- Turn your steering wheel into the slide if you begin to slide
- Keep your car tires maintained
- Keep snow blankets in your car
- Make sure your gas tank is, at a minimum, half full
- Clear all the snow off of your car
- Lookout for black ice
- If you have young children, remove jackets before placing them in car seats
- Share your location with family and friends.
If you do wind up stopped because of snow, stay with your car. Use the blankets you brought to keep warm and try to avoid running the car for extended periods. If you must run the car to keep warm, periodically check and clear the exhaust pipe of snow.