Driving in Snow: Turn that Winter Nightmare into a Wonderland.
It’s that time again folks. Like it or not, it’s colder, slicker and more dangerous on the road than any other season. It can be a pretty scary situation driving anywhere in the Tri-States after a hefty snowfall. I know just a few weeks ago I was inching up the minor hill from our Chevy store to our PreDriven store and I didn’t think I was going to make it. Which leads me to my first piece of advise to achieve a worry-free winter driving experience – be prepared.
I didn’t have good tires at the time (bald would have been a complement), and that is my fault for waiting, thinking I had time as the roads were pretty clear prior to the downpour of snow. But weather is unpredictable and we all have to be prepared as mid-westerner’s living where the soft stuff comes in hard.
Here’s three more tips that we covered in a previous post that will help you be prepared for this winter season!
1. Check your tires.
“I’m good, I put some air in those babies last week!” Check ’em again, Einstein. Cold temperatures makes the air in tires contract. You lose a pound of pressure per square inch for every 10-degree drop. Beyond that, the cold air can also make the rubber on your tires stiff, which could result in cracking or separating where the tire meets the rim. Check them often and make sure you put in the proper amount of PSI to ensure you’ll be prepared when the rubber meets the road.
2. Carry the stuff that will help you in-case of a bind.
You are a perfect driver and react to every situation just right — me too ;D
However, when it comes to the point where proper skill, logic and just being awesome won’t help you, you need to be prepared. Do you have…
- A Shovel?
- A Bag of sand, cardboard, kitty litter or anything that might help you gain traction when stuck?
- A Flashlight with extra batteries?
- A Compass?
- A First Aid Kit?
- Jumper Cables?
- A Tool Kit?
- A Working Jack in your Trunk?
- A Properly Inflated Spare Tire?
- A Couple Reflective triangles?
- A Ice Scraper?
- A Spare Container of Anti-Freeze?
- A hat and gloves?
- Winter walking shoes?
- A cell phone car charger?
If you don’t have all or at least most of the aforementioned items then you are failing. It’s important to be properly prepared for any situation, you don’t want to find yourself in a dire situation with no tools to help you out of a bind.
3. Know what your doing when you start swerving.
Don’t panic when your vehicle starts taking you on a trip you weren’t quite expecting. Most stuff slips on ice (with a few exceptions of-course) your vehicle, unfortunately, falls into the “Most Stuff” category when it comes to ice.
If your rear wheels start to skid take your foot off the accelerator and steer your front wheels in the direction your rear wheels are skidding. Be calm and don’t jerk the steering wheel around, you might have to steer back and forth into the skids, but do so in a controlled and subtle manner.
Front wheels sliding? Take your foot off the gas and shift into neutral. When your vehicle starts to gain traction from the wheels skidding to the side, put your vehicle into drive again and accelerate gently into the direction you want to go.
If you’re sliding right toward something and you know without a doubt that you’re going to hit it … well then you’re just plain out of luck. About all you can do is yell some sort of extremity (“Oh $&*#!!!”) and wait for the worst. That’s why you’re mom always told you to wear clean underwear before leaving the house, because first you yell it and then you do it.
Great! Now I’m stuck!
Whoa, sorry to hear! But don’t fret, and definitely don’t start frantically trying to accelerate out of there! If you do find yourself stuck, you first want to clear any snow obstructing your tires. If you have that bag of sand handy or a length of cardboard, throw some down in front of your tires to help gain traction. When the path is a bit clearer, SLOWLY try to accelerate out (if you spin your tires you are digging yourself in deeper). If all else fails (and you’re sure you won’t damage your vehicle doing so), slowly try to rock your vehicle back and forth creating a path for your vehicle to follow.
Hopefully this information helps, I know the Tri-States get pretty bad in the winter and sooner or later most people find themselves in a situation they would have rather avoided. So please never head out thinking nothing bad will happen, because the fact is – you never know. You really never know. Be prepared and you will find yourself having that great winter you imagined… or that darn cold winter you never wanted and certainly never asked for but at least it will be accident free.