Ten Tips for Driving in the Snow Safely
1. Make sure you allow extra time to get your car ready to roll if you’re going to drive in the snow. If the vehicle is parked outside a garage, then plan to scrap the snow off the vehicle. This includes all the windows and the lights in particular. You need to be able to see well and also be seen.
2. Warm the vehicle up and make sure that you don’t have condensation on the inside of the windows. You may need to use the air conditioning set to a warmer temperature to even out the temperatures initially. Then, switch over to heat. Repeat as needed.
3. Take emergency supplies with you – just in case. Have extra warm clothing, water, and food available. These are just the basics. If you have a longer drive or will be in rural areas, then plan accordingly and add items like a flashlight, a first aid kit and so on.
4. Be sure that your cell phone is charged fully. And, don’t talk on the phone while you’re driving in the snow. That’s a recipe for disaster.
5. On the road, slow it down. That really should go without saying, but some people just don’t seem to get it. Driving too fast for the conditions puts everyone at risk.
6. Watch for others. It’s always good to be proactive on the road, but when it’s snowing or the roads are covered with ice, it’s especially important to look ahead and also in the rearview mirrors. You can often avoid an accident if you are paying close attention.
7. If you start to slide, press the brake down firmly and hold the wheel firmly with both hands.
8. Don’t jerk the steering wheel quickly. This will only make the slide worse and will mean that you lose all control of the vehicle.
9. Feel for some traction and slowly pull out of a snow or ice slide gently.
10. Don’t panic. Even if you’re going slow and keeping as much control as possible over your vehicle, you may slip into a ditch, telephone pole, or another car. Stay calm. Breathe. Brace for impact.
I don’t have to deal with much snow driving now that I’m in central North Carolina, but I did drive in snow pretty often in the mountains of Virginia. Although I did slip and slide a number of times over the years, I never had an accident. I always allowed extra time and took it real easy. Plus, I have a natural “feel” for vehicles and could gauge well on the braking and steering. There were times I could not control sliding, but I stayed calm, rode the slide out, caught some traction and made it safely when I did have to get out in snow.
Again, avoid driving in snow if you can. That’s not always possible, so remember these tips and stay safe.