What Are 5 Tips For Driving In The Snow
What Are 5 Tips For Driving In The Snow
Winter is here, and with it comes the inevitable challenge of driving in snowy and icy conditions. For many drivers, this can be an incredibly stressful and daunting experience. However, with the right knowledge and precautions, it doesn’t have to be. As America’s #1 Provider of Vehicle Protection Plans, DriveSmart Warranty wants you to stay safe and confident on the road during these challenging months.
In this blog post, we will share five important tips for driving in the snow, which will help you navigate the winter roads with ease, prevent accidents, and ensure the safety of your loved ones and other drivers.
Slow down and maintain a safe speed
Winter weather brings a new set of challenges for drivers, and maintaining a safe speed is crucial when driving in the snow. Snow and ice can significantly reduce tire traction, making it difficult for vehicles to stop or change direction quickly.
To ensure safety, it’s essential to slow down when you notice snow and icy conditions on the roads. Speed limits posted for ideal road conditions don’t necessarily apply in snowy conditions. Keep in mind that slick surfaces can be deceptive, so always take extra care when you’re driving on a snowy road, even if it looks clear.
In addition, accelerating and decelerating slowly can help avoid skidding that may result from sudden movements. If you need to increase speed, do so gradually and gently to minimize the chance of losing control. Finally, be prepared for sudden traffic slowdowns and be conscious of your distance from other vehicles. Keeping a safe following distance ensures adequate space and time to react in case of unexpected stops. Remember, when driving in the snow, slow and steady wins the race.
Increase your following distance
Driving in snowy conditions requires adapting your approach to the road, particularly when it comes to maintaining a safe distance between you and the vehicle ahead. Increasing your following distance is crucial for preventing accidents, as it gives you additional space and reaction time in case of unexpected stops or changes in traffic flow.
In normal driving conditions, a 2-3 second following distance is usually sufficient. However, when driving on slippery or treacherous roads filled with snow and ice, it’s wise to increase this to a minimum of 6-8 seconds. To do this, pick a fixed road sign or landmark, and count the seconds it takes for the vehicle in front of you to pass and when you reach it.
Remember that snowy roads demand extra caution and patience. Being aware of your surroundings and giving other drivers ample space will go a long way in ensuring your safety and the wellbeing of those around you.
Use your headlights and turn signals properly
Driving in snowy conditions can be especially challenging; therefore, it is important to use your headlights and turn signals effectively to ensure you remain visible and alert other drivers of your intentions.
1. Turn on your headlights, even during daylight hours, to make your vehicle more visible in heavy snowfall and low light conditions.
2. Use low beam headlights, as high beams can reflect back off the snow and cause glare, making it difficult to see.
3. Clear any snow or ice from your headlights and taillights before driving. This will help maintain visibility and ensure that other drivers can see your lights.
4. Remember to use your turn signals well in advance of any maneuvers, such as changing lanes or making a turn. This will give other drivers time to react and avoid potential collisions.
5. If your vehicle is equipped with fog lights, use them in conjunction with your headlights to provide even better visibility, but remember to switch them off when no longer needed to avoid blinding other drivers.
Avoid sudden braking or acceleration
Winter weather can create challenging driving conditions, especially when snow is involved. One essential tip for safely navigating snowy roads is to avoid sudden braking or acceleration. Gentle handling of your vehicle is crucial to maintain traction and prevent skidding.
Gradually applying pressure to your brakes or accelerator will allow your tires to maintain better grip on the road. Sudden braking can lead to a loss of control, potentially resulting in an accident. Additionally, sudden acceleration may cause your tires to spin, reducing your ability to steer properly.
To practice proper braking techniques, start slowing down sooner than usual. Give yourself extra time to come to a complete stop at intersections and traffic lights. When accelerating, do so gently and gradually, ensuring your tires maintain contact with the road. Remember, patience and smooth handling are key when driving in the snow.
Learn how to handle skids and slides
Driving in snowy conditions can often lead to challenging situations like skids and slides, especially for an inexperienced driver. It is essential to learn how to handle these situations to prevent accidents and maintain control over your car. Here are some tips to help you navigate skids and slides with ease:
1. Remain calm: When your vehicle starts to skid or slide, it can be a scary experience. However, try to keep calm, maintain your grip and focus on regaining control.
2. Avoid sudden movements: A common mistake when skidding is to jerk the steering wheel or abruptly apply the brakes. Instead, ease off the accelerator and softly steer in the direction you want the front wheels to go.
3. Use your brakes wisely: If your car is not equipped with an Antilock Braking System (ABS), pump the brakes gently. For cars with ABS, apply firm and continuous pressure on the brake pedal.
4. Look where you want to go: Keep your eyes on the route you intend to take and steer gently towards it. Avoid distractions and concentrate on regaining traction.
5. Wait for the vehicle to regain traction: Patience is vital during a slide or skid. As your car regains traction, slowly accelerate to maintain control and continue driving.
Keep your windshield clear and clean
Driving in the snow can be a challenging experience, but with the right precautions, it doesn’t have to be a stressful one. One of the most important things to remember when navigating wintery conditions is to keep your windshield clear and clean.
First, make sure you have a quality ice scraper on hand, and use it to remove any snow or ice buildup from your windshield before setting off. The more visibility you have, the safer you’ll be on the road.
Next, ensure that your windshield wipers are in proper working condition. Replace any damaged or worn wipers regularly to avoid streaks and smears that may impede your vision while driving.
It’s also essential to keep your windshield washer fluid topped up with a solution specifically designed for freezing temperatures. Regular fluid can freeze and render your washer system useless in colder weather.
Finally, try to use your vehicle’s defrost setting to keep your windshield fog-free while driving so that you can maintain optimal visibility at all times.
Limit your nighttime driving
Driving in the snow can be a challenging experience, especially when it comes to navigating through the decreased visibility that nighttime brings. Limiting your nighttime driving during snowy conditions is an essential tip to ensure your safety on the road.
When you cannot avoid driving at night, consider the following precautions to minimize potential hazards:
1. Use your low beam headlights: High beams can cause glare and reduce visibility in the falling snow.
2. Drive at a slower, more cautious pace: This allows you time to react to unexpected obstacles or changes in road conditions.
3. Follow the tracks of other vehicles where possible: This can provide better traction and navigation.
4. Allow plenty of braking distance: It takes a longer time to come to a complete stop on slippery surfaces.
5. Take frequent breaks: To avoid eye strain and fatigue, pull over and rest at safe spots to maintain alertness throughout your trip.
By implementing these precautions, you can make nighttime driving in snowy conditions a manageable and safer experience.
Avoid using cruise control in snowy conditions
Avoid Using Cruise Control in Snowy Conditions
Driving in snowy or icy conditions can be a daunting task, but utilizing cruise control can make the situation even more dangerous. Skid patches and slippery roads may cause your vehicle’s wheels to lose contact with the pavement, leading to a loss of control.
When using cruise control, your car will try to maintain the pre-set speed, which may cause it to accelerate at the wrong time. This sudden acceleration could lead to skidding, spinning out, or even an accident.
By avoiding cruise control in snowy conditions, you can maintain full control of your vehicle by modulating your gas pedal and brake according to the road and weather conditions. This allows you to respond more effectively and quickly to any sudden changes or challenges that may arise.
Remember, being proactive and attentive while driving in wintry conditions is crucial for your safety and the safety of others on the road. Keep your eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, and never be afraid to take it slow.