Probably the most difficult and certainly the most dangerous conditions that the average driver regularly has to contend with is snow. Should you live in an area with annual freezing Winters, there a number of simple things that you can do to greatly reduce the chances of you getting into a collision.
Regardless of how many articles you read about correctly driving in snowy weather, you simply cannot handle ice without adequate grip. Adequate grip can only be found in tires that have a thread depth of at least 6/32inches. You may notice that your apparent all weather tires don’t possess such a depth and that unfortunately means that they do not possess enough grip to handle the roads on a snowy day. You’re only option for adequately handling ice is tires that are designed specifically for the purpose, they are imaginatively named Winter tires.
When I say Winter lights, I don’t mean that you actually need to equip your car with new lights, rather that you both drive with front lights that are on and that are cleared of any snow. When driving in snowy conditions, you really want to have as few unexpected things on front of you as possible and short of beeping your horn like a madman on the way to the shop, keeping your lights on at all times is the best way of achieving this.
Plan your Route
This of course is not completely possible but a large portion of the danger involved in driving to work in the snow can be avoided with a few minutes of thought before you set off about where you should and should not drive. If you have lived in an area for enough snowy Winters, you are likely to be aware of the places that tend to get the most ice. Simply avoiding such areas could be considered the most effective tip on this list.
Leave as Much Time to Stop As Possible
As you are likely aware, stopping in a hurry on an icy road can at times be impossible. Regardless of the tyres that you are using or how good of a driver you consider yourself to be when it comes to driving in snowy conditions, the easiest away to avoid having an accident is to simply leave ample space between you and other vehicles. You never know when they will have to stop in a hurry and it is also worth noting that regardless of whose fault a collision is, the driver of the car behind is always the one that has to foot the bill.
Don’t Drive Blind
One of the key aspects of driving safely in Winter conditions is to take all necessary precautions before you set off. You need to make sure that your visibility is near perfect when first setting out as it is only likely to get worse, not better as you drive.
- To start with, you can get rid of all condensation by turning the heater on. This should be done a few minutes before you start your journey and you should not turn it off until you reach your destination.
- When it comes to the outside of your windows, you not only need to make sure that they are clear but also that they will remain so. Always test your windshield wipers before leaving home and carry both an extra pair and extra wiper fluid should you run out. This may sound unnecessary but you certainly wouldn’t think so if you found yourself attempting to drive through snow without working wipers.
Don’t Over Steer
Finally, if you do get into a sticky situation and you find that your front tires have lost their grip, the first thought that enters most peoples minds is to attempt to turn. This will almost always make things worse however because once your front tires regain their grip, they are likely to jerk in the direction that they are currently pointed in. Therefore always try to change the direction of the steering wheel as little as possible when you find that you have lost your grip on the road.
Photo Credits: Chris Runoff