Tips for Driving in Snow
Building snowmen and drinking hot cocoa may be delightful, but driving in winter weather can be frightful – particularly if you live in an area that doesn’t often see snow or ice.
The good news? You can be prepared for whatever Mother Nature sends your way. Read on for some top tips (from the experts at NHTSA) to ensure you arrive safely at your destination.
Before you Drive: Prep your Vehicle for Snow
Driving safety begins even before you back out of the driveway. It’s simple and relatively inexpensive to get your car ready for snowy or icy conditions.
1. Maintain your car.
While this is generally good advice, it becomes especially important in the winter. Get regular oil changes and keep an eye on your vehicle’s battery, coolant, and other systems. Experts say wiper blades should be replaced once a year, so consider this your reminder if you’ve not yet done so. Consider replacing the standard wiper fluid with one made specifically for colder weather.
2. Check your tires.
It’s time for the “Lincoln test,” any easy way to check your tire treads. Insert a penny into the tread with Lincoln’s head pointing down. If you can see all of his head, that means your treads are low and your tires need to be replaced. Tread allows your car to “grip” the road, which is never more vital than in those wintry conditions.
As the outside temperature drops, so does tire pressure. You can check yours with a simple, inexpensive gauge. Your car manual will tell you the optimum pressure (called PSI) for your particular vehicle. Hint: it’s not the number listed on the tire itself.
3. Know your car.
Your car may already have safety features built in – they are considered standard for most newer vehicles. Traction control is one of those features. It helps your vehicle maintain traction on slippery surfaces, especially when trying to accelerate. Another is the anti-lock braking system, which works by releasing and then reapplying the brakes. This prevents your wheels from “locking” and helps you continue to steer.
For more information on winterizing your vehicle: 5 Ways to Prep Your Car for an Arkansas Winter
On the Road: Driving on Snowy or Icy Roads
You’ve prepared your car for winter weather, but now that you put your vehicle in drive, what can you do to prevent an accident?
1. Drive slowly.
It sounds simple, but it’s one of the most important steps you can take. It’s harder to control or stop your vehicle when roads are wet, icy, or covered in snow. You (and your car) need more time to react to unpleasant surprises like black ice. This principle applies not only to your general speed, but also to braking and accelerating. Proceed with caution.
On the same note, leave earlier than necessary and give yourself extra time to reach your destination. You’re more likely to drive at a safe, slower speed if you don’t have to worry about being late.
2. Give other cars their space.
As mentioned above, cars require more time to slow or stop on wintry roads. Keep extra distance between yourself and the car in front of you. It can help you avoid becoming part of a chain of rear-end collisions.
3. Handle the skids with skill.
A “skid” occurs when your wheels no longer have traction with the road, and either the front or back of the car starts to slide away from the direction you want to be going. It’s a scary feeling, but you can regain control. Step One: resist the urge to slam on the brakes.
For a rear-wheel skid, you’ll want to “steer into the skid” by turning your steering wheel in the same direction the back of your car is sliding. Ease off the gas and brakes. Once your rear wheels begin to gain traction again, you can steer back in your original direction.
4. If possible, don’t stop when going uphill.
This one speaks for itself.
Learn more about driving in wet, stormy conditions: When the Weather is Frightful: Driving Tips for Rain and Storms
Injured in an Accident?
While you can take every step to be a safe, responsible driver, you can’t control what other drivers do on the road. If you were injured in a car wreck and the other driver was at fault, you have options. We’re here to help.
Taylor King Law has a team of attorneys who will ensure you get the money you deserve for the pain you’ve suffered. We’ve been helping our friends and neighbors for more than 25 years.
Questions? Call us today at 1.800.CAR.WRECK (1-800-227-9732). You can also reach us online through our chat feature or using our Online Contact Form. You’re just a call or click away from getting the help you need.