Driving in a Snowstorm Tips & Tricks

 In Safe Driving Guide

We’ve all been through the situation where we are driving to work or the grocery store and the next thing you know the sky opens up and it starts snowing. During rapidly developing snowstorms it can precipitate to the tune of 2-3″ per hour, which makes driving in a snowstorm very dangerous until the snow removal equipment can get out and clear the road. If you are already on the road you have few choices but to wait till it stops or continue till you get to your destination.

The question is: How do I get where I am going safely?

While you cannot stop it from snowing while you are out and about, the good news is that you can follow these tips on driving in a snowstorm to ensure you arrive safely when the roads get dangerous:

  • Leave Space Between Vehicles: You are always told not to tailgate and its even more important to ensure you are leaving adequate space between you and the vehicle in front of you when the roads are slick. The normal stopping distance you leave is not adequate as the roads are slippery and you may experience the need for more room to stop than usual. Leave at least 5-6 seconds of space between you and the car in front of you. Plan for slippery roads.
  • Clear Snow From Your Vehicle: Clear the snow from your car. This includes side-view mirrors and front and back windshield. Side windows are important too, especially if you have to change lanes. To be safest clear ALL windows on your vehicle from snow before driving. In addition, be sure to remove any snow or ice from the top of you car. If not cleared, this snow/ice could potentially blow off the roof of your car in one large sheet, causing an accident on the roadway behind you.
  • De-Ice Your Windshield: De-Ice your windshield before driving and ensure you have an entire tank of washer fluid of all times so that you can clear your windshield as needed.
  • Learn to Control Your Skid: Whether you have front-wheel, back-wheel, or all-wheel drive, learn how it feels when your car skids on ice or packed snow. Understand the direction the vehicle will go and how to keep your car in your control to the best of your ability.
  • Never Use Cruise Control: During snowstorms never use your “cruise control”. It can cause you to become complacent so you are not prepared for any slippery patches that you could possibly hit. Controlling your speed is also easier with your foot on the pedal. Save cruise control for clearer weather.
  • Reduce Your Speed: When the weather is dangerous do not try to drive the normal speed limit. That’s the maximum allowed speed on the road under normal circumstances. Go slow as you need to so you and other drivers on the road are safe.
  • Use Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Properly: ABS is most useful when there is constant, steady pressure maintained on the ABS break. Check the owner’s manual on how to use the ABS break when there are dangerous weather and road conditions.
  • Install Snow Tires: Snow tires are deeper in their treads, which can help you have more control of your car. If snow tires are not enough to make you feel comfortable, or the weather is extremely dangerous, snow chains for your tires can help further traction to keep you in control of your vehicle.

For more information on driving in a snowstorm, please feel free to contact us.

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