Winter can bring challenging driving conditions, especially when snow is on the ground. Knowing how to drive safely in snow is essential for anyone living in a cold-weather climate. With the correct preparations and techniques, drivers can navigate snowy roads with confidence. In this article, we will provide some useful tips to help you stay safe while driving in snow.

Winterize Your Car

Winter months can bring hazardous road conditions. Snow, ice and cold temperatures can affect your car's performance, so it is important to winterize your vehicle before you hit the roads this season.

Fitting your car with the right type of tires is one of the most important steps towards winterizing your vehicle. Winter tires are designed with a special tread pattern that offers increased traction on wet or icy surfaces, so fitting your car with winter tires is key.

When driving in cold weather conditions, appropriate tire pressure also plays an important role in keeping you safe on the road. Tire pressure should be checked regularly throughout each season and adjusted as necessary according to changing temperatures. For more tips on preparing car for winter, please check our guide: How to Winterize a Car?

Think Ahead and Plan Your Route

Winter weather can be unpredictable and treacherous, so it’s important for drivers to plan ahead and know how to drive safely when the snow starts falling. Preparation is key to staying safe on the road during snowy conditions. Before heading out, it's essential that drivers pay attention to the weather forecasts, so they know what kind of conditions they will be driving in.

It's also important for drivers to take their time while they are on the roads and not try to rush or drive too fast because of slippery surfaces caused by ice or snow. It’s also wise for drivers to let friends or family know where they're going and what their expected arrival time is in case of an emergency situation on the road.

how to drive in snow safely

Slow Down

To stay safe while driving in the snow, it's important to slow down and take extra care while on the road.

Slowing down when driving in snowy conditions gives you more time to react to changing road conditions as well as other drivers who may not be aware of their surroundings. Snow accumulates quickly, so even if you were driving fine minutes ago, that doesn't mean that hasn't changed by now. By slowing down and being alert, you'll decrease your chances of hydroplaning or sliding off the road into an accident.

Keep a Safe Distance from the Car in Front of You

When driving on slick surfaces such as ice or snow, it's important that drivers keep a greater distance between them and other cars than they normally would on dry pavement. As these surfaces decrease friction, drivers need more time to come to a complete stop.

Keeping an extra cushion of several car lengths will help ensure there's enough space for drivers if something unexpected happens on the road ahead, like an animal suddenly crossing or another driver losing control of their vehicle due to icy conditions.

Look Far Ahead

Another important thing for drivers is keeping a sharp eye on the road and looking as far ahead as possible. When visibility is low or roads are slippery, being able to anticipate what's ahead can help drivers make necessary adjustments with plenty of time.

Learn to Steer into a Skid

Learning how to properly navigate the roads when they're covered in ice and snow is essential for safe driving. One important skill to have is the ability to steer into a skid, which will help keep your car from spinning out of control.

Understanding why steering into a skid is an effective maneuver is key. When a vehicle begins sliding on icy roads due to loss of traction, this causes the car's weight to shift away from the tires' contact with the ground. Steering into a skid allows you to regain traction by transferring weight back toward your tires so that they can grip the road surface again and stop your car from spinning around or fishtailing out of control.

Stay in Your Lane

Driving too close to other vehicles or veering across lanes can increase the risk of collision, especially on slick roads. It’s important to keep a safe distance between you and other cars so you have ample time and space to stop should any unexpected obstacles appear in your path. Additionally, it’s important to avoid swerving over different lanes unless absolutely necessary—swerving may cause a loss of traction which could result in your car sliding off course.

Don't Brake Suddenly

Braking suddenly when driving on snowy roads can cause your vehicle to skid or spin out of control, leaving you vulnerable to a crash or other dangerous situation. To avoid this issue, drivers should slow down gradually as they approach intersections, curves in the road, or any other areas which might require them to come to a stop. By slowing down gradually instead of braking suddenly, drivers will be able to maintain more control over their vehicles even when conditions are slippery due to ice and snow.

Use Low-beam Headlights or Fog Lights

When driving in heavy snow, it is essential to use the right lights. Low-beam headlights provide a wide beam of light that can better illuminate the road when visibility is poor due to falling or blowing snow. This allows drivers to better identify curves, observe debris on the roadway, and spot other vehicles on the road. Fog lights are also helpful in these conditions as they focus light more directly towards the ground, eliminating glare from snowflakes in front of your vehicle.

Using low-beam headlights or fog lights can give you better visibility while driving in snow and help prevent accidents from occurring due to decreased visibility. It's important to remember that high beams should not be used during snowy weather because they reflect off of falling flakes and reduce visibility instead of increasing it.

Be Careful on Bridges, Overpasses and Interstates

Driving on bridges, overpasses and interstates during snow can be quite dangerous. Bridges and overpasses tend to freeze first due to the lack of sun exposure, which causes black ice making it nearly impossible for drivers to gain control of their vehicles. Interstates can become filled with snowdrifts quickly due to the length and open space of these roads giving drivers very limited visibility. It is important for drivers to take special care when driving in these conditions, no matter how experienced they are in winter weather.

Final Words

Driving in snowy weather can be challenging but there are things you can do to improve your safety on the road. Make sure your vehicle is ready, practice good driving habits and be aware of weather conditions to help ensure a safe journey. Take extra care when the roads are icy, snowy or wet and remember to allow for more time for braking and stopping.