Working the Weather: Snow

The changing seasons bring with it drastically changing road conditions. We’ve talked about ways to master driving in the heat as well as driving in the rain but its time for another, maybe the most important, installment of working the weather: snow edition. We’ll talk about some ways to stay safer when driving in the snow and some tips and tricks that may help ease some anxiety when trying to conquer snow whether you’re driving through it for work or whether you’re just working through it during your winter vacation.

Be Prepared

Going into situations involving snow and ice while being prepared can save you time and hassle later and most importantly can help save your life. Checking your tires and making sure you have traction will help you from spinning out of control or getting stuck. Make sure your tires are not bald and don’t be scared to splurge on snow tires to make sure you have enough traction. If you know you’ll be embarking on a journey through snow, pack accordingly. A basic emergency kit may not be enough during these times so make sure to stock up on blankets, water, food etc. You never know when you’ll have to wait out a storm or wait to be pulled out of a ditch in the freezing cold. Better to be over prepared than under prepared.

Follow Road Rules and be Alert

Road Signs can be your best friend during winter and they are there to help you. There are often signs that let you know road conditions for the area and most importantly whether chains are required or not. These are required for big rigs most of the time and failing to put them on can result in huge fines. Putting chains on does require some time, but its important to take that time even if you’re in a hurry because it can save your life and your bank account. Being alert falls under the same quality and pretty much means to be aware of the changing of road conditions with the changing of the seasons. Snow causes the path in front of you to be less clear and decreases visibility of other cars and road signs. This is when its most important to keep the most distance as possible from the car in front of you. Give yourself as much cushion as you need if you need to come to an abrupt stop. If you’re driving a big rig, its almost impossible to come to an abrupt stop on icy roads. Downshift as much as you can before using your breaks to avoid possible skidding.

Tips on Navigating

Aside from the obvious tips like slowing down, leaving a greater following distance, etc. there are still some tips worth mentioning that may help you master driving during these cold temperatures. Having a 4x4 vehicle with snow tires is having a basic vehicle in mountainous areas along with having snow chains. If you’re driving on a small unmarked snow- and ice-covered road try to drive in the middle of the road as much as possible; especially if it’s a one way and you don’t have to worry about cars coming in the other direction. Staying in the middle of the road prevents your car from sliding off the road or sliding into a ditch. If you’re going uphill at all try to stay at a decent speed and keep it as constant as possible. Its important not to try to slowly creep up a hill because tires can lose traction easier this way. At the same time never try to accelerate too quickly on icy roads because this can also cause loss of traction.

Driving in the snow doesn’t always have to be a nightmare. As long as you’re prepared, pay attention to what you’re doing as well as road signs, and pick up some tips on navigating, this winter can become your best friend. Just don’t forget probably the single most important rule: Check your traction.

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