Tips for Driving in Snow
The 'Polar Vortex' is coming back, and with it, snow.
If every time a flake falls, you're worried about getting to and/from work or school, here are some helpful tips.
As the driver of a rear-wheel drive sports car, I dread the snow. My car generally slips and slides all over the road if there's anything more than a dusting, so there are times when I just have to realize it's not safe to take my car on the road.
Other times, there are a few simple things to remember:
- Completely clean off your car. There's nothing worse than getting a little chunk of snow stuck under the windshield leaving you unable to use the wipers, and therefore, see. (It's even worse to be driving behind someone who hasn't cleaned their car, because the snow/ice flying off towards you can be deadly.)
- Turn your lights on. This is not only so you can see the road better, but so other drivers can see YOU. Don't just use the parking lights either...you want to keep your headlights and taillights on.
- The road will be slick, so give yourself extra time to slow down or maneuver in any way. Quick movements can cause you to skid or spin out.
- Slamming on the brakes will likely cause you to skid. Brake gently, and if you notice the wheels locking up or the car losing control, ease off the brake until you feel the car regain control.
- Keep your windshield and windshield wipers clean so that you can actually see. (Rain-X is my favorite car product in life, and I recommend it for everyone. Magical.)
- Don't use cruise control. If you hit an icy patch, your wheels will spin and the car will try to accelerate. No good.
- Keep sand, kitty litter, or salt in your trunk. The added weight will add stability to the car, and you can use the contents for traction if you happen to get stuck.
- Turn off distractions like cell phones and even your beloved radio.
- Be aware that having all- or 4-wheel drive doesn't allow you to stop any faster.
Sometimes it's best to just stay home. If you're too afraid to drive, don't. Wait until the salters and plowers have cleared the roads. It'll make it easier for everyone.
If you absolutely have to drive in the snow, allow plenty of extra time, slow down, and use caution. Let's all get through this winter as safely as possible!