Tips for Driving Through Snow and Ice

Winter’s here again and that means if you’re not living in one of those warm, picturesque climates out west or down south, you’re probably dealing with the added dangers of driving in winter weather. It would be nice if our advice could be to simply stay at home and make some soup, but than can be impossible with work, basketball games, and going out to the grocery store to stock up the pantry. So, here are some tips to get you, your family, and your car home safe and sound through the winter wonderland of ice and snow.

  • Drive Slowly —When you’re on the open road in the middle of summer, that’s the time to let your hair down and enjoy the drive. In the winter, when roads can be icy even when they don’t look it, keep your driving well below the speed limit. Get in the right lane if you need to so you can let others pass, and don’t worry about getting to your destination on time. People generally understand that winter conditions can lead to delays, so take your time.
  • Don’t Tailgate —Winter conditions like snow and ice make the roads dangerously slippery, which means that if you need to hit the breaks quickly you’re not going to be able to stop as easily as you normally would. Give two or three times as much space to the driver in front of you than you usually would so you’ll be able to stop in time.
  • Use Low Gears —Your tires are going to need more traction when the winter roads are slick, so put your car in a lower gear to help your tires grip the ground more easily. While this is true no matter where you are, be particularly aware of the need to use low gears on hills.
  • Keep Your Lights Clean and On — Even in the middle of the day, snow, fog, and clouds lead to low visibility when it’s snowing. Guarantee that everyone can see you by making sure you’ve turned on your lights and that you’ve cleaned the dirt and salt off of your headlights and taillights.
  • Get Rid of Distractions — While driving should always be your only priority when you’re behind the wheel, this is especially true when conditions are bad. Turn off your phone and music so you can be an alert and defensive driver.

February 7, 2013 by Jamie Rettig