This post originally appeared on the Leith Cars blog.
Well, this day hasn’t gone as expected. It seems like it’s been a while since we woke up and were surprised by a sudden snowstorm. We can only imagine how much more unpleasant this weather is for people who had already set out on their commute before it started. Hopefully you aren’t stuck at work now, or worse, stranded out on the road.
If you’re in a bind, we do want to offer you some advice and tips for winter driving. To be clear, it’s better to avoid driving in the snow if at all possible. If it’s a day like today, though, and you didn’t have much warning, we hope this list will better prepare you for unpleasant conditions.
Slow down – Everyone speeds on a regular day, probably going about five to ten mph above the posted speed limit. On a snow day, you should be driving about five to ten mph below that same speed limit.
Increase your follow distance – In Driver’s Ed you learned to put two to three seconds between you and the car in front of you. If there’s snow on the ground, you’d better make it about eight seconds if you want to be safe. Give yourself the space you need to stop if you need to.
Accelerate/decelerate gradually – It won’t take much effort at all to get your wheels spinning, so you really want to apply pressure to the gas pedal as slowly as possible. Give your tires a chance to find some traction. Similarly, if you just slam on the brakes suddenly, you’re more like to go skidding off the road sideways. Start slowing down well in advance of when you need to, and if you can help it…
Don’t stop – Momentum is precious in the snow. You don’t want to be going too fast, but neither do you want to come to a halt and risk getting stuck. With proper management of your acceleration, you ought to be able to coast up hills and around corners without too much trouble.
Relax – Remember that the white stuff falling from the sky is just frozen water. The world is not coming to an end. You will be fine. Take deep breaths, put some music on, and remain calm.
Look where you want to go – If you find that your car is skidding or sliding, don’t panic. Instead, look in the direction that you want to go and turn the steering wheel that way. Don’t slam on the brakes, don’t gun the accelerator. You should have plenty of space and time to regain control if you’ve followed the rest of this advice.
Stay home – Don’t put yourself in a situation where you have to contend with nature if possible. If you do have to drive through the snow, stay put once you reach your destination.
We’ve based our list off of AAA’s winter driving tips, so you can find more thoughts on this subject over there. We’re also including this helpful infographic from Bridgestone Tires, just in case you’re more of a visual person. It’s our goal at Leith Cars to provide you with as much help as possible.