Hello there fellow 4WD enthusiasts and welcome to my post where we will check out my 9 tips for driving in the snow this year. Unlike driving on wet roads or in the sand, snow driving is a totally different kettle of fish where if we are not cautious, things can get a little dangerous.
So for those of you looking to get out and about this winter, let’s have a look at some tips for snow driving below:
Tips for driving in the snow
As above, unless we are careful, driving in the snow is something that we need to take great care with. There are the visual hazards such as snow drifts and lack of vision as well as that invisible danger that is black ice. And to help you out, I have split my tips into two categories – pre driving preparations and things to look for as you hit the road.
Before snow driving
1. Plan your journey ahead
Here your goal is make your journey as smooth as possible by using anything that could provide you with updates on traffic news. This allows you to plan for potential snow hazards – of if possible avoid them all together.
Take into account locations that will be exposed to the weather and perhaps are prone to flooding and make sure you are aware of the weather in your area, so you are not taken off guard. This way you will be prepared for anything that may come your way.
2. Clean the snow off
If you are already in a snow bound area, give yourself more time than usual before you leave to clean the snow from your car’s windows, mirrors, lights and the top of the roof. If fact, in many areas you may be breaching the law if you drive with snow on your car.
Additionally, you will need to de-ice your windscreen. There is a correct way of doing this however to avoid damage which is to spray a de-icer solution onto your screen (3 parts vinegar or 2/3 cups of rubbing alcohol with 1/3 cup of water) and wipe off . Do not use salt or saltwater. Also do not scrape the ice off as it will scratch the windscreen and boiling water can cause it to crack.
Of course, before starting the engine, it is also essential to make sure any auto wiper controls are turned off since this might blow the wiper control fuse if they are frozen to the screen. As you probably know, successfully keeping your windscreen clean depends on the working condition of your wipers.
3. Chain your tires
As with driving without snow on your car, it is also illegal in many areas to drive without snow chains attached.
Secondly, this is probably obvious but when driving on snow and ice, poor tires will not grip. Hence upgrading to winter tires with deeper treads may be worthwhile in areas where snow and ice can appear suddenly.
4. Prepare for the worst
You will never know how severe snow weather can be, so it is advisable for you to prepare for any type of emergency. That being said, in snow driving, bring the following items:
- Hi-visible vest
- Blanket to keep you warm
- Some food
- Spare screenwash
- Recovery boards
- Phone charger
- First aid kit
- Warning triangle
- A portable jump starter or at the very least some jump leads
And for extreme conditions, a 4wd winch is well worth the effort as well.
5. Examine your screenwash
When driving on a snowy road, I recommend using a high-quality screenwash that protects down to -35 degrees Fahrenheit. The idea behind it is to keep the water from freezing. If you do not follow this critical step, your windscreen wipers may become ineffective in severe weather.
Driving in snow
6. Drive to the conditions
This is probably an obvious place to start but when you are already on the road and facing an icy highway, then the challenge of safe driving begins. For this instance, you may observe the following steps:
- Increase your speed gently. To achieve this, you may use low revolutions and change to a higher gear when possible.
- Drive in second gear to decrease wheel slide; some automobiles have a winter mode that performs the same.
- Maintain safe stopping distances between you and the automobile in front. Here you should allow up to ten times the average suggested spacing.
- If fitted, let the anti-lock braking system (ABS) operate, assisting you in stopping in slippery circumstances.
- If your vehicle has a conventional gearbox, downshifting through the gears might assist slow it down rather than using the brakes. This approach comes in helpful, especially while descending a slope. Just be careful not to feather the clutch as you release it, or you will start to skid.
- When approaching a corner, use the brakes before turning the steering wheel. If your automobile loses traction, stay calm; the important thing is to remove your foot off the throttle and ensure your wheels are facing in the right direction.
- Make advantage of your dipped headlights when driving in thick snow. Relying on daytime running lights is insufficient because they do not always illuminate the back of your vehicle.
7. Don’t lose sight of the road’s surface
Black ice is notorious for being nearly undetectable, especially while traveling at night in a blizzard. Fortunately, there are specific techniques you may use to detect it. For one, a pavement that seems fresh asphalt or appears dark and moist might be coated in black ice. Take extra caution in driving on such a surface.
Also avoid cruise control if you’re traveling in a snowstorm or the roadways are a mix of wet, snow and ice. It is risky to apply your vehicle’s cruise control in such a situation. It can cause your car to accelerate unexpectedly, shortening your response time and lowering your control.
8.Be extra careful in driving through hills
When driving down a slope, leave at least three vehicle widths in front of you since you won’t be able to stop as soon as you would in normal conditions. Stopping when going uphill and applying too much gas might lead you to lose traction completely. Start building momentum before the climb and let it take you to the top. You can slow down after you reach the top of the slope.
9. Inform others of your travels
And finally. as with deep sea fishing. it is always a good idea to notify someone at the destination of your expected route and arrival time. If you do not come at your scheduled time, they can then seek assistance locating you.
And there they are, my 9 snow driving safety tips to get you there safely this year. I would be pleased to know how this article helped you, and as usual, let me know of your experiences here.
Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, corrections, or would like me to check anything else out for you.
Until next time.