Driving in the snow can be a super stressful situation, with 17% of all weather-related vehicle crashes being caused by snowy conditions. Sometimes you find yourself in a situation where you have no other choice than to drive, even when it’s snowing out. Luckily, with a little preparation and an understanding of your car and how snow affects the road, you can prevent yourself from getting into a crash and stay safe while driving in the snow.
Here are three methods on how to safely drive in the snow.
1. Accelerate, decelerate, and turn much slower than normal. When you’re driving in snowy conditions, you should take your time because your vehicle may take longer to react than usual. Slowly applying the gas and gradually accelerating is the best way to gain traction when you lose traction in your rear tires. While you’re driving, decelerating abruptly or making sharp turns at a high rate of speed may cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
- Try to maintain a speed of 45 mph (72 kilometers) or less.
- Anticipate times where you’ll have to stop and decelerate slowly, far in advance of where you have to stop.
- Test your car’s accelerating, braking, and turning abilities on a clear stretch of road before driving to your destination.
2. Use your headlights. Test your lights before starting your trip in the snow. Make sure that they are visible from the outside and remove any of the built up snow that may be obscuring them. Use your lights during the daytime when it’s snowing because visibility is worse for all drivers on the road.
- Test your headlights and brake lights once a month to ensure that they are operational.
3. Accelerate steadily when going up hills and don’t stop. Don’t try to power quickly up a hill by slamming the gas pedal because it may cause a spinout. Try to gain momentum and use it to get up the hill. Don’t stop while going up a hill because your car could get stuck in the snow.
- When you are coming up on a crest of a hill remember to decelerate steadily in advance. You don’t want to go fast on a downward slope because you could lose control of your vehicle.
4. Increase your following distance from other vehicles. Following closely behind someone could cause an accident if you have to brake abruptly. Under snowy conditions, it’s recommended you stay 100 feet (30 meters) behind the car in front of you.
- Pay close attention to the brake lights on the vehicle in front of you in case you have to come to a sudden stop.
5. Stay alert and aware of your surroundings. While you should always be alert while you’re driving, it’s even more important to do so when driving in snowy conditions. Practice defensive driving and pay attention to other drivers on the road.
- Other drivers may not have the same level of skill when it comes to driving in snow, so they may lose control of their vehicle and cause a collision with your car or truck.
- Keep your radio turned down so you can hear if other cars are losing control or are honking their horns.
Click Here to see the other two methods of how to safely drive in snowy conditions