Do you need to drive in snow but you’re not sure how? Here are my best tips for driving safely in the snow in the winter.
Is It Safe to Drive in Snow?
Driving in the winter can be tricky. Winter weather can suddenly make driving a bit scary, especially when you’re not used to driving in snow.
I can assure you, that while it takes some time and practice to get used to it, it can be safe to drive *safely* in the snow if you absolutely need to be out during winter weather. When I was a teacher, I needed to drive through a mountain region, so I got A LOT of practice driving safely in snowy and icy conditions.
Keep in mind that any amount of snow or ice can make driving conditions hazardous, so it’s best to be prepared BEFORE winter even starts when it comes to knowing how to drive in the snow safely.
How to Drive in Snow Safely
These are some of the most important tips I can think of when it comes to driving safely in the snow:
- If you don’t need to be on the roads, stay home. Let the plow trucks do their jobs and let the snow stop before you head out. Sometimes, having extra drivers on the road who don’t need to be out and who are not ready to drive in snow can be very dangerous. If you don’t need to be anywhere when it snows, stay home until it’s safer to venture out.
- If you do need to drive during the winter, make sure your tires are ready to drive in the snow. Bald tires won’t help, and neither will summer tires when it comes to slippery and snowy roads. Make sure your tires have enough tread to be able to handle snowy conditions.
- Use Snow Mode or low gear for snow covered roads. Switching to Snow Mode (available in newer cars) or a lower gear helps to reduce your speed and reduce the amount of times you need to use the brakes. It also helps tremendously when driving downhill. Refer to your car’s manual to find out how to do this.
- Drive slowly and steadily, keeping a bit of a distance between you and the car in front of you. Slow and steady is key in driving in the snow. If something should happen to the car in front of you or you start to slide, you should have enough room to come to a safe stop without colliding.
- Try to avoid quick turns and sudden stops. Again, slow and steady will help you get to your destination. Quick turns and sudden stops can result in sliding, spinning, and possible crashing. Take turns slowly, and if you need to stop, take your foot off of the accelerator ahead of where you need to stop to slow your car down first, and then gently push down on the brakes. Pumping the brakes can work too, provided that you don’t do it too quickly. Slamming down on the brakes, even with anti-lock brakes, can cause your wheels to lock up and slide on snow and ice.
- If you do start to slide, DON’T slam on your brakes. It can be alarming when you feel your vehicle start to slide. Again, slamming on brakes is a bad move. Ease off of the gas and try to gently steer the car. Some suggest gently turning the wheel in the same direction as your trying to slide. Others suggest to slip the car into neutral if you can. Most of the time, taking your foot off of the gas will help to slow the car down and give you the chance to maneuver back to where you need to be on the road.
- Remember: four wheel drive or all wheel drive helps you to go, but it doesn’t help you to stop. Many people get a false sense of security when using four wheel drive or all wheel drive and may drive too quickly in poor conditions. Yes, they certainly help you to drive better in the snow, but they are not for helping you stop or for helping you not to slide.
I hope these tips help you to learn how to drive safely in the snow. Like I said, these tips come from a lot of experience driving up and down mountains in the snow, so hopefully they work for you as much as they have worked for me.
Winter Car Kit for Emergencies
Along with following these safe driving tips, it’s a good idea to have a winter car survival kit in your vehicle in case of emergency. This kit will be full of necessary items to get you through winter driving emergencies in your car.
For instance, did you know that kitty litter is helpful for when you get stuck in snow?
You can get the entire list of everything you need here in Winter Emergency Car Survival Kit Checklist.
Any Other Tips for Driving in Snow?
Do you have any other tips for driving in snow safely? Please share them below in the comments!