‘Snow way’? Here’s how to say ‘snow problem’!
Driving in snow and other winter weather road conditions can be difficult, scary and even hazardous. However, you can learn how to manage your own safety and your need to get around during winter. It’s not just occasional blizzards that make driving daunting. According to Chevrolet’s statistics, temperatures between 24 and 34 degrees Fahrenheit are the most dangerous for driving a vehicle. Chevy also found that driving on snow offers 50% less traction than dry roads. Driving on ice offers 75% less traction than dry, clear roads. With some steady hands, a cool head, and a good dose of common sense, you can take on everything winter can throw at you.
6 Tips to Survive Driving in Snow
1. Drive slow to focus on safety.
Ok, so this should be the most obvious tip for anyone driving in the snow. However, it is also the one thing people have a hard time following! Driving slow means you will slide less, have more reaction time and have less of a chance of having an accident. Safety should always come before speed. Try to apply the gas slowly when you accelerate to regain traction and avoid skidding. Remember it takes longer to slow down on roads with snow or ice. The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds.
2. Don’t stop.
If you can avoid stopping, or even slowing down, you will have an easier time driving in snow. Stopping can get you stuck as you lose momentum. Let gravity help you whenever possible!
3. Change lanes judiciously.
If you have to change lanes, it actually may be helpful to look for pavement that is covered with patches of snow. Surprisingly, these are the areas that may provide better traction for maneuvering your vehicle. Once you start your turn into the next lane, don’t panic or overcorrect if your vehicle slips. Some cars, like the 2019 Chevrolet Equinox and 2019 Traverse come equipped with the StabiliTrak system to assist in your maneuver.
4. Don’t pump the brakes.
Contrary to what you may have been told years ago, do not pump your brakes. Today’s antilock brake technology does the pumping for you; you might feel and even hear them doing this, and that’s a good thing. All you have to do is to keep your eyes focused on the direction you want to go and steer that way. Continue to maintain pressure on the brake pedal and let the vehicle’s ABS system modulate the braking.
5. Believe you can get yourself unstuck.
To be clear, getting stuck isn’t the best thing either. But it doesn’t have to make you panic. One of the best ways to get your vehicle free is to rock it back and forth. This will depend on the snow conditions and your vehicle’s ground clearance, though. Turning the steering wheel left and right will help to clear the area around the front wheels. (You can also use a shovel). Turn off any traction system you have in your vehicle. Gently shift back and forth between reverse and forward gear. Spin the wheels as little as possible. The rocking motion may help to free your car but it is also important to know when to call for help.
6. Stay home.
Sometimes you have to know when to call it quits. Driving in snow and ice can be dangerous and not necessarily worth the risk at times. You may have the ability to drive in winter weather, but sometimes it’s OK to decide to skip it.
Driving in snow and ice, and any kind of winter weather, can be hazardous. Taking extra precautions are necessary. Plan for the worst winter weather driving conditions and give yourself plenty of time to get where you need to go. Good luck driving in the snow!