Winter Driving Safety: Vehicles & Driving Techniques for Snowy & Icy Conditions
Winter weather is often unpredictable – blizzards, icy rain, snow showers, and other conditions can pop up without warning. If you live in an area where you have tough winters, then you know how to drive in all sorts of weather. If you don’t, though, and you’re traveling somewhere in the middle of the season or you’ve just moved somewhere that is known for hazardous winter weather, then you should be prepared for anything when driving.
Prepare Your Vehicle
If there is snow on your vehicle, make sure to clear it off so that your vision isn’t impaired. Be especially thorough about clearing snow off the roof, as it can slide around once you’re moving (not only making your driving difficult but also for those driving around you). Make sure to have your cell phone with you as well as your car charger in addition to extra bottled water. Throw a blanket in the truck, make sure you have your jumper cables, and keep some non-perishable snacks as well as a first aid kit on hand. Flares and a shovel are also valuable tools to have with you.
Looks Can Be Deceiving
Even the smallest amount of ice on the roadways can be dangerous. If you know that there is ice on the roads (or the prediction is for ice), be cautious when starting out. Take your time, and do not speed if you can avoid it (hint: give yourself extra time!). If you do encounter ice and find yourself hydroplaning or losing control, remember to steer into the slide and allow the car to slow down by itself. Don’t pump or slam the brake pedal. Drive in a lower gear and again, take your time.
For driving up and down hills, use momentum to help your vehicle go up the hill (having built up a bit of speed coming to the bottom of the hill). At the top of the hill, reduce speed and slowly descend.
Best Vehicles for Winter Conditions
It would be safe to say that there are vehicles that are not the best for driving in the snow and ice, especially the more racing type of vehicles. But there are vehicles that are built to withstand the winter weather. Those vehicles include those from Volvo, Subaru, Audi, and Volkswagen. A more thorough description of the specific vehicles can be found here.
For anyone driving in snow and icy conditions, the best advice might be to stay home. If that’s not possible, prepare, don’t be in a hurry, and consider driving a vehicle that better fits the circumstances.