When you’re driving in the winter (particularly if it’s your first winter with a license) it can be a little bit intimidating. When the first snow falls, you’re surrounded by drivers who aren’t necessarily making the most intelligent driving decisions. So, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite snow driving tips to keep you safe and sound this winter.
Accelerate & decelerate slowly
When it comes to snow driving, anything punchy can get you into big trouble. With black ice everywhere and packed snow creating a layer of slippery ice on the roads, slamming on your breaks could send you spinning while a quick pedal-to-the-medal maneuver could leave you skidding in place.
Overall you should be driving more slowly than normal. Keep in mind that it’s not just your behaviors that may impact the safety of your car, but also the driving of others. You can’t control the speed of the other drivers, but you can control your own speed! Be sure to slow down and keep your eyes open for unsafe drivers.
Increase follow time
The typical follow time is four to six seconds. However, when roads are slick and unpredictable you should increase your following distance to eight to ten seconds.
Know your brakes
Make sure that you know what your brakes are like and what they’re capable of. Are they touchy? Do they lock up easily? Be sure to give yourself plenty of stopping distance so that you can press the break gently and keep them from locking up. Do you punch the pedal to the metal and still have a hard time getting the car to stop? Give yourself even more stopping distance so that you don’t slide through a stop if it’s slick. Knowing your breaks will help you make safe stops — planned or not — throughout the winter.
Sometimes the road conditions are so dangerous that it’s best to just stay off of them. This is a personal judgment decision, so be sure to check the roads before going out!