Tips for Driving in the Snow

When your car goes into a skid and the panic sets in, people tend to forget everything they’ve ever learned and their body defaults to its highest level of training.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind and to practice so that when the moment hits, you’re prepared to avoid veering into a curb or hitting the car in front of you.

Prepare Beforehand

First and foremost, there are the obvious precautions you should take beforehand to avoid being caught in a bad situation. Make sure all of these boxes are checked before venturing outside in the winter, especially for longer road trips away from home.

  • Check the weather before going out
  • Make sure your gas tank is half full
  • Have an emergency kit in your car with food, water, extra batteries, and blankets
  • Keep your tires fully inflated
  • Always wear your seatbelt
  • Replace your tires if they have less than a 6/32 inch deep tread

Tips for Driving in Snowstorms

Obviously the best way to go is to have snow or winter tires with excellent tread and a car with all wheel drive. However, there are still plenty of ways to stay safe with any type of vehicle and tire type.

For one, never mix radial tires with other types of tires. Avoid using cruise control when driving on any slippery surface, include rain, snow, and ice. When driving in a snow storm, drive much slower and accelerate and decelerate slowly. Go slowly enough and keep enough distance that you can avoid stopping is possible.

Make sure to increase following distance from 3 – 4 seconds to 8 – 10 seconds. If you’re approaching a hill, do not apply extra gas to get yourself going up. Instead, build up inertia slowly as you approach the hill and allow the inertia to carry you up. In snow, it is much more difficult to get forward momentum than it is to keep inertia going.

Use threshold braking – keep your heel on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure. If you do find yourself going into a skid, do not slam on the brakes. Tap on the brakes slowly and steadily until you come out of it.

Final Tips

In the face of really bad weather, it’s often best to just stay home. Work from home if you can. Put off errands for another day or two and give the snow plows a chance to clear the roads. Waiting is definitely better than ending up stranded in a snowstorm or with a dented car and misaligned tires from running into a curb or tree.

If you do happen to veer off the road, make sure to come into World Class Auto to have your alignment checked. Show this post to get $15 off your alignment check and avoid running into much more expensive and complicated problems down the road.

Drive safe out there everyone!
Your Friendly Main Street Mechanic in American Fork