Tips for Driving in Snow

We could all use some tips for driving in snow and we’ve seen a ton of snow this past week in Seattle. As we all head back to work after the holidays, it’s important to make sure we’re being safe on the roads. Here are a few tips for driving in snow to keep you safe into the New Year.

Don’t. Just Don’t.

If you can avoid it stay home. After all, the best way to stay safe when its snowy outside is to avoid driving altogether. If you are able to work from home or take the day off, do that instead. 

Accelerate Slowly When Driving in Snow

Accelerating too quickly can cause your tires to spin out and can send you into a skid. This is especially true if your vehicle is two-wheel drive. Instead, accelerate slowly (but evenly).

Turn into Spins When Driving in Snow

If your car does begin to skid, turn your tires the direction of the skid. While this may seem counterintuitive, turning into a skid versus out of it will actually help you regain control. If you try to get out of a skid you risk pushing your vehicle into a full spin. 

Drive on Powder

In most cases, compact snow is just as danger and slippy as ice. If you can safely do so, look for areas with fresh powder. Snow that hasn’t been compact by other vehicles will allow your wheels to pick it up and throw it off easier. This will help give you extra traction and reduce your risk of skidding out. 

driving in snow

Give Yourself Extra Braking Time When Driving in Snow

Just like with acceleration, make sure to give yourself enough time to slow down. It can take an additional few seconds for your car to slow down on icy roads. In most situations, those extra a few seconds can be crucial. A good rule of thumb is to increase your following distance to a minimum of 5 seconds (as opposed to the 3-second rule under ideal conditions).

Check Tire Tread

When it’s icy outside the traction your tires are able to create with the surface of the road is significantly reduced. If your tires are bald (or nearly there) you will be at an even greater disadvantage when it comes to gaining traction and driving safely. Tires that are less than 2/32 should be change as soon as possible. 

Don’t Stop Abruptly When Driving in Snow

While braking may be necessary in some cases, if you can avoid coming to a complete stop you should. It’s better to keep up the inertia you’ve already built up than try to get going again from a dead stop. This can look like slowing down early in order to not have to wait for a light to turn red, or driving in the slow lane on the freeway so you don’t have to brake if you get behind someone slower than you. 

driving in snow

Avoid Hills When Driving in Snow

Stop and go traffic on hill can make it harder to get rolling again. It can also increase the likelihood of losing control or spinning out. While it may be inconvenient to take a longer route, losing a bit of time is better than getting in an accident. 

Don’t Overdo it on Chains

 Chains can be great when you’re moving slowly and need some traction. However, they can actually do more harm than good if they’re not used right. Chains can damage your cars body if used on roads that you don’t need them on. If it’s possible to get around without them on plowed city roads, it might be best to forgo the chains. 

Keep At Least Half a Tank of Gas at All Times

We’ve all heard that you should never let your gas tank fall below a quarter-tank in case of emergency. When temperatures drop below freezing, it’s important to increase the amount of gas you keep. This is for two reasons: 1) your gas burns quicker in cold weather, and 2) having more gas in the tank can help prevent break lines from freezing.

If you’ve been in a car collision, contact Superior Auto Service today for repairs.