One of the absolute worst times to drive around is when the snow is coming down and driving conditions are worsening. If you have any choice at all, it’s always best not to drive in the snow, rather than risking your safety and the safety of others who may be in the car with you. However, if you have no choice at all or find yourself stuck out on the highway in a snowstorm, it’s best that you’re properly prepared on how to drive safely in these conditions.
Below, we’ve compiled some of the top tips to help you understand how to best drive in snowy and icy conditions. It’s way better to be safe, rather than sorry in situations like this!
1. Properly Plan Out Your Journey
One of the first things you need to think about before you set out on your journey is whether or not you have sufficiently planned your drive. There’s much more to safety driving in the snow than just when you get behind the wheel, after all! You’re going to want to make sure that you’ve done the proper research on what the road conditions might be like throughout your entire journey. If not, you could wind up ill prepared to take on the drive in front of you.
Keep up to date with the local weather a couple of days before hand and always check what’s happening down the road. You’ll be glad that you did!
2. Leave More Time Than You Think You Need
If you’ve already been snowed on before you plan to drive off, it’s a good idea to leave some extra time available before your departure time. This is because you’re going to want to have time to scrape of your windows, doors, and lights from the snow that might be already covering your car. It’s actually illegal in most states to drive with snow covering any essential part of your vehicle, so stay within the law!
You’re probably also going to need to de-ice your windows, so be sure to have time to make that happen before you head out. All of these checks are super crucial to take care of before you drive off in order to be the safest and within the law.
3. Check Your Wipers Before Leaving
You will want to take a good look at your windshield wipers before you leave to ensure that they’ve been cleared of ice and snow. You want to have wipers that are working properly throughout a snowy drive or you could be faced with some dangerous conditions where you can’t see properly. Plus, it’s illegal not to have working wipers on your car at any point during dangerous weather conditions.
4. Pack for The Worst and Hope for The Best
You never want the worst to happen to you where you’re stuck on the side of the road for hours, waiting for a snowstorm to pass. In the case of the worst scenario, you should have the following items in your car ready to go:
- A demisting pad
- A couple of flashlights with back-up batteries
- A reflective vest to make yourself visible
- Multiple blankets to keep you warm
- Some non-perishable food items
- Plenty of bottled water
- De-icer and an ice scraper
- A shovel
- The right phone chargers
- A map
- A first-aid kit
You should also ensure that you’re always driving with a fully-charged phone with the number of your accident assistance provider readily available. This will ensure that you can have someone out to help you out as soon as is possible in the weather conditions.
5. Know When You Should Be Using Snow Chains
Snow chains are one of those car accessories that most people know about, but few people know how to properly use. They are best used in these snowy and icy conditions where you are having trouble driving normally. They should only be utilized whenever you are driving over a layer of compacted snow and need to be taken off whenever you get to a regular road without snow on it. If you don’t do this, you could do some serious damage to both your car and the road. It’s even illegal in some European countries to not carry around snow chains with you whenever you’re driving.
Make sure you understand the proper procedures of fitting a snow chain onto your tires. It wouldn’t be any good to have these chains and not know how to use them in the case of an emergency, now would it?
6. Know The Proper Steps to Driving in Snow
Of course, you’ve got to know the basics of actually driving in the snow if you’re going to go out in these conditions. First of all, you should be wearing dry and comfortable footwear whenever you’re driving in adverse conditions. You will want to always accelerate gently on snowy roads and change up to a higher gear as soon as is possible. Always maintain safe distances between yourself and the car or cars in front of you – this will ensure that you’re prepared to stop in the case of an accident. Try to avoid braking as much as possible, as this could cause you to swerve uncontrollably on icy roads.
7. Understand What to Do When Visibility Drops Down Low
Whenever you’re driving in bad weather conditions, there are always times whenever visibility can drop pretty low. If the visibility goes below 100 meters, put on your fog lights to try to improve it. As soon as the visibility increases again, you can turn off the lights.
And there you have it, folks! These are all the tips you need to know about and keep in mind whenever you’re driving out there in the snowy weather. Remember, if you can, try not to drive in the snow or ice! But, if you absolutely have to, then these tips are going to help you out big time as you set out on the road.