Driving Safely in the Snow
I know some people who are scared-out-of-their-minds to drive in the snow. You probably know some like that as well.
I, on the other hand, LOVE IT!
I get as excited as a kid-in-a-candy-shop every time I see the beautiful white stuff coming down.
Recently we were inundated with snow in the Boise area, and I was surprised how many people were involved in “vehicular mayhem.” Seeing so many sad souls sitting by their crashed heaps of ice-cold metal, prompted me to write the following tips for driving safely in the snow.
First, let me just say, you may be tempted to think that you are impervious to weather conditions with your whopping huge, lifted, 4-wheel-drive monster truck or your AWD Subaru, but the truth of the matter is, YOU’RE NOT! If you don’t slow down, you’re likely to be the next in the ditch or even worse a major accident.
Also, if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, putting studded snow tires on is, of course, the safest thing to do, but then again, you would know that.
Additionally, putting on chains (great deals on chains here) is the safest way to drive in the snow. However, in many flat locations, such as the Treasure Valley in Idaho, it snows so little that many people never put on chains or snow tires when it does snow.
That said, these tips apply to driving with both snow tires and chains installed.
Driving in snow is dangerous, be cautious and follow these three tips.
1) Tap the breaks
Even if you have anti-locking breaks, it still helps to tap the breaks. Anti-lock breaks don’t engage until the pedal is depressed most of the way. By this time, you are almost in a full slide if not sliding already. When tapping the breaks, you can control the slide before coming to a complete stop.
2) Gently press the gas when taking off
When it comes to going again, after having come to a complete stop, it may be difficult not to slide or just spin your tires. I have found that gently pressing the gas can avoid this. However, if after gently pressing the gas your tires still spin unavoidably, there is another method you can apply. Most vehicles with automatic transmissions have the option to use first gear. When using first gear, your vehicle has more low-end torque than when it is in a higher gear, and you can potentially control the car more easily.
3) Know your vehicle and practice starting, stopping, and sliding it in a safe environment
It’s important to know what kind of vehicle you own. Is your vehicle front-wheel drive, rear wheel drive, or even all wheel drive?
If you’re serious about driving safely in the snow, taking your vehicle to a safe and controlled environment, like an empty parking lot or field covered in snow and testing its capabilities is essential. Knowing how to get your vehicle to drift safely in this flat, open, controlled space, is the same as knowing how to keep if from drifting while on the road. This is something you should know well and become very familiar with. After all, your life may depend on it. Practicing until you are confident in your ability to maneuver your vehicle the way you want to, is important.
Personally, I think rear-wheel drive vehicles are the most fun. The way they operate is simple. Power is on the back, pushing the car along. This can cause the vehicle to spin multiple times with just a little bit of speed. Front-wheel drive vehicles are very different. They don’t like to spin much at all. The dangerous part of front-wheel drive vehicles is that one moment you have control of the vehicle, and then suddenly you do not.
With these simple steps, you are now better prepared for driving safely in the snow.
Of course, if you want to have fun in the snow then you need to get yourself one of the “Roughest, Toughest, and Manliest Trucks Of All Time.“