I live in an area that can get a lot of snow. Seeing those big flakes fall from the sky is always mesmerizing and exciting, but it can also be treacherous. It seems like snowstorms are fewer than they were when I was younger, but nevertheless, every now and then, we’ll get a doozy of a storm and sometimes, I’m required to get in the driver’s seat. My dad’s main advice when driving in the snow was to not get behind the wheel in the first place but if that wasn’t an option, he offered a few other suggestions. I’ve included his wisdom and some other research-based tips in the list below. If you find yourself driving in a snowstorm or an impending snowstorm, stay safe!
1). Stay home if possible: Unless it is an absolute emergency, don’t get on the roads. There’s no better time to stay cozy inside with a good book or cup of hot tea than during a snowstorm. During colder months, always have a pulse on the weather so you don’t get stranded without groceries or other necessary items. Granted, we can all get cabin fever when stuck indoors too long. Nevertheless, safety first. Always.
2). Drive slowly: If you must get out on the road during a snowstorm, drive slowly. There is lower traction when driving in snow and ice, so it’s easy to lose control, and if you must break, turn, or veer off, it will be easier if you’re driving at a low speed.
3). Significantly increase your following distance: This is good driving advice whether you’re driving in the snow or not. It’s always safer to keep a distance between yourself and other vehicles, but it’s especially important when driving in the snow. This way, if you slide, your car has time to slow down or stop before slamming into someone else.
4). Try to avoid hills: This may be impossible to do but if you can, try and avoid going up or down hills when driving in the snow. It’s hard enough to maintain traction on flat roads, much less hilly ones.
5). Don’t slam on the breaks: If you see ice up ahead or a patch of snow, it’s better to slowly roll through it as opposed to break before you get there. Moving tires are safer. This goes back to the earlier tip about driving slowly. If your speed is low, you shouldn’t have to slam on breaks.
6). Notify others where you are: This one is a biggie. If you’re trying to get home during a snowstorm or you have to go somewhere during the snow, make sure you let someone else know. Tell them where you’re going and that you will contact them when you get to your destination.
7). Keep yourself and your car hydrated: During seasons of snow and ice, it’s best to always have a decent amount of gas in your vehicle. Driving in the snow is stressful enough without having to worry about your car possibly running out of gas. For the humans in the car, make sure you always have water. Even though it’s cold outside, you can quickly dehydrate if you get stuck in a traffic jam or stranded somewhere.
8). Keep a winter safety kit in the car: This tip is important. Optimally, your safety kit should include bottled water, dried foods, extra blankets, flashlights, batteries, battery-pack phone chargers, an ice scraper, medications, additional warm weather clothing, and anything else you may need.
Driving in the snow isn’t something I enjoy but sometimes it’s a necessity to get from point A to point B. If you find yourself behind the wheel during snowy weather, follow the above tips and be careful!
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