Answer this quick questionnaire to know if you should read the article below. If you answer yes to any of the following questions, we recommend that you spend a few minutes of your day learning some tips and tricks on how to handle driving in the snow of Rexburg winters:
Are you a male from anywhere?
Are you a female from anywhere?
Have you recently gotten a driver’s license?
Do you drive with your friends in the car?
Do you like to drive fast?
Are you overly cautious?
If you answered no to every single question, you need to stop lying, and you should still read this article.
First and foremost, pay attention when driving in the snow.
The best advice anyone can give you is to pay attention to what you’re doing. You’re driving, you’re not doing your makeup, you’re not responding to your girlfriend’s text, and you’re not playing angry birds. So put the makeup away, and put the phone down.
The highest priority should be making it to your destination. Your makeup will still be there when you get to where you’re going. Your girlfriend isn’t going to dump you if you don’t respond right away (and if she does, she’s not worth your time anyway). So focus, okay? Are we good? K, let’s get started.
The first step of driving safely in winter conditions is to clear off your windows so you can see. This is step number 1 on nearly every list I’ve found about driving in winter conditions. (Don’t believe me? Look for yourself by clicking here.) You’d be surprised at the number of people that stick their head out the window to drive rather than clearing their windows. ALL of your windows (this picture below doesn’t cut it).
You need to get it into your head that you need to anticipate what is going to happen FAR before you would if there were no snow. Now I’m not saying that you have to drive 10 in a 35, but if that floats your boat, that’s fine too. (I just might pass you if you’re going that slow). What I am saying is that you need to slow down WAY before you get to where you’re supposed to be stopped. So let’s say hypothetically, that you normally start slowing down 4 seconds before you get to where you need to stop. With the snow, you need to increase that time to 12 seconds before you stop.
Third, don’t use cruise control.
Don’t use cruise control. It takes the control of the car away from you. In case you didn’t gather, that is bad. So yeah, just… don’t.
Fourth, keep a safe distance between yourself and the car in front you.
This is relatable to the stopping paragraph above. You need to increase your normal following distance (Utah…*wink, wink* *nudge, nudge*). If the car in front of you stops suddenly, you need to give yourself enough time and space to account for reaction time, sliding time, and stopping time. So just back up, stay back there, and don’t try to read my bumper stickers. You can read them in the parking lot.
Fifth, avoid speeding up hills.
When you approach a hill, don’t press the gas pedal hard to try to get up the hill. This can cause you to spin (not your tires, but your car…like…around in circles). Instead, trust inertia to get you up the hill. Don’t stop on the hill if you can help it because it can be difficult to get going again. If you have to press the gas pedal, do it gently and slowly.
Lastly, learn to deal with skidding.
As a general rule of thumb, the softer the surface the softer you brake. The harder the surface the harder you brake. It seems counter-intuitive in the moment, especially with an ABS system in your car. But it works! If you want to see what I mean, check out this video from Team O’Neil Rally.
We want everyone to be safe on the roads so please share this article with everyone you can. We want everyone to know proper driving techniques to safely navigate on the snow. And we also want everyone to be prepared for the worst. Keep some survival gear in your car just in case you get stranded. Blankets, water, and first aid kits are great items to start collecting to prepare yourself.
*You can find a list of this content at https://www.wikihow.com/Drive-a-Car-in-Winter-Weather