Top Tips on How to Drive Safely in the Snow
Driving in the snow can be very challenging. If you’re not careful, you might get into an accident. It’s important to keep in mind that snowy conditions can make driving more dangerous. That’s why it’s crucial to make the necessary preparations before you proceed on your journey.
What to Do Before You Drive in the Snow
When preparing to drive on snowy roads, you and your car need to be ready. You would have to adjust the way you manoeuvre your vehicle so you can drive safely in extreme conditions. Here are the other steps to prepare for driving in the snow.
Plan Your Trip
Before you head off to your destination, take time to plan for your trip first. Know the routes you’ll take and be updated with the traffic news so you’ll have a smooth time driving. Check the areas you plan to visit because there might be places that become more dangerous due to flooding, for example. Get updates on the local weather so you’ll know what to expect.
Set Enough Time to Prepare
Allocate ample time so you can clear your car mirrors, lights, and windows of snow. Don’t forget to also remove snow from the top of your car. If you proceed to drive without doing this step, you might end up breaking the law.
You might have to de-ice the windscreen as well and clear the mist inside too. As you may already know, it’s illegal to drive your vehicle without full visibility through all of the car’s windows. Consider carrying a lock de-icer on your trip so you can clear the lock also.
Check the Tyres
The tyres of your vehicle must have adequate tread. If you proceed to drive a car with poor tyres, then they will not grip when you’re driving on ice and snow. If snowy weather is common in your area, you may want to change your tyres to ones that have deeper tread. You may also use snow chains or snow socks if the weather conditions become extreme.
Check the Wipers
Before you turn on the ignition to check the wipers, the auto wiper control must be switched off. If the wipers are stuck frozen on the windscreen, the control fuse might be damaged if it’s forced to move the wipers. See to it that the wipers are working properly before you head off to your destination so you can clean the windscreen without any problems.
Check the Screenwash
When choosing a screenwash, get good-quality ones that can protect your windscreen and wipers up to -35 degrees. This way, water won’t freeze and you can continue to use your wipers without any problem. Remember that if the wipers are stuck on the windscreen, you won’t be able to use them, and that would be dangerous for you as you’re driving.
Driving in Snowy Roads
When you accelerate, do so gently. Your revs should be low and then move up to a higher gear quickly. Change to the winter mode or move off in second gear to decrease wheel slip. If you’re not sure if your car has winter mode, you can check the car manual to see if your vehicle has this function.
Keep a Safe Distance
While driving, maintain a steady speed and also keep a safe stopping distance from the car in front of you. You may want to leave up to ten times the recommended gap for normal weather conditions when you’re driving on snowy roads. Do the same if you’re driving uphill so that you can keep a constant speed and not have to change gear. Downhill, use low gear so you don’t have to avoid unnecessary braking.
What if you’re approaching a bend? In this situation, brake before you begin to turn the steering wheel. If you feel your car starts losing grip, don’t panic. Keep in mind to remove your foot from the accelerator and that your wheels are still pointing toward the direction you intend to go.
In the event of a skid, gently steer into it. See where the rear of your vehicle is heading and then steer in that direction. Remember not to remove your hands from the steering wheel. Also, don’t press on the brakes. While this may seem like a very scary situation, don’t let panic overwhelm you. Instead, try to manoeuvre the vehicle the best you can.
Using the Right Lights
In heavy snow, make use of the dipped headlights because it’s not enough to use the daytime running light. This is because you might not have lights on the back of your vehicle. If you can’t see anything beyond 100m, use your fog lights. As soon as visibility gets better, remember to turn it off.
Manoeuvering the Vehicle
Try not to drive in the wheel tracks of other cars because the snow is already compressed in those areas. They’re more likely more dangerous to drive on compared to fresh snow. When you’re using controls like accelerator, steering, and brakes, do so slowly and smoothly. Even when you’re changing gear, remember not to be abrupt with it.
When driving in the snow, wear comfortable and dry clothing that will keep you warm. This includes your footwear. You may also want to prepare a pair of sunglasses so you can protect your eyes from the glare of the winter sun reflecting on the snow.
After your trip and you’ve already arrived home, it’s a good idea to clean your car. The salt for de-icing roads can affect your car and cause corrosion if not removed. Throughout the winter season, clean your vehicle regularly to make sure you’re it works well and you can reach your destination safely.