Weather conditions can act negatively through visibility impairment, temperature extremes, and high winds to affect a driver’s capability. And the vehicle’s performance, such as traction, maneuverability, and stability. At the same time, reducing pavement friction, slower speeds, and increasing crash risk. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration’s “road weather management program,” report highlights that 24 percent of weather-related crashes happen on snowy, slushy, or icy pavements. Annually more than 116,800 people are injured, and 1,300 people are killed in vehicle crashes during snowfall and sleet. Snow driving can be hard and require special handling from a driver, to know more about how to drive safely in the snow follow the comprehensive guideline.
You need to be prepared before you set off on a journey in the snowy winter. Staying alert to the traffic and weather conditions can help you make good decisions during the journey. Make your car a winter warrior by upgrading its hardware and preparing your brain as well to drive in winter. The first thing that should be improved is tires; installing snow tires with deeper tread can cut through snow and provide way better grip than regular tires.
While the automotive hardware plays a significant part, the way you think about driving on snow and ice can be essential for your safety. Start by slowing down, not just your speed but also how fast your hands and feet are moving. Snow and icy roads have low friction, which means the tires take more time to grip and change the speed or direction. It’s also recommended to avoid completely stopping, reduce the chances of getting stuck, apply brakes and accelerator smoothly and slowly.
In winter driving, everything takes longer than usual, especially stopping and turning. So be vigilant of the road farther down than you usually do. Where your eyes lead, your hands will follow. Keep your eyes on the road and resist the urge to see the notifications on your phone because the halt that might only take 150 feet in summer can go 500 or even 1,000 feet in the snow.
Check Your Wipers, Tires, and Screen wash
Wipers are essential hardware that needs to be in good condition to make your vision clear in rain and snow. Ensure to turn off the auto wiper control before ignition. If the wipers are frozen to the screen, it can fry the wiper control fuse.
Motoring adventure on snow and ice can go wrong really quickly. And the idea scientifically is that the grip of a tire or “coefficient of friction” on dry asphalt is around one. The same value drops to 0.7 on wet roads, and on snow, it plunges to around 0.15, appalling, right? That’s why it’s always recommended to use snow tires designed to have a strong grip on the road. While if the conditions are horrible, you can use snow socks or even snow chains to provide proper grip.
Screen wash is essential for windscreen wiper’s proper functioning in extreme weather conditions. You need to use quality screen wash that can prevent the water from freezing and be operational.
Pack for the worst
Extreme weather conditions favor no one, and you need to be ready for the worst that could ever happen. Prepare for any eventuality on the ground by ensuring your car is equipped with every essential item that can come in handy in a hostile condition.
- Torch and batteries
- A high-visibility vest and warning triangle
- Demisting pad
- Blanket to keep you warm
- Dry food and water
- First aid kit
- Jumper Cables
- A spade and a piece of carpet to give you traction should you get stuck.
- A mobile phone charger and your breakdown recovery provider’s emergency number.
How-to Drive-in Snow
- Wear warm and dry footwear
- Gas the car gently using low revs and change to a higher gear as swiftly as possible.
- Start off in second gear as it’ll reduce wheel slip. Some vehicles have a winter mode, which does the same job. To find out if your car has this function, take a look at your vehicle’s handbook.
- Go at a steady speed while maintaining a safe distance between you and the car in front of you. It’s recommended to leave approximately ten times the standard recommended gap to provide stopping distance.
- When going uphill, leave enough space in front of your car so you can maintain a consistent speed and don’t have to change the gear on the steep.
- For driving downhill, use a low gear with virtually no braking unless necessary and again leave plenty of space between you and the next car
- Snow is very slippery, so when approaching a turn or bend, brake before turning the steering wheel. If your car loses its grip, try not to panic and immediately take your foot off the accelerator. And ensure your wheels are in the direction you want to go.
- If your car starts skidding, be gentle, and steer into it. Such as, when your car’s rear is sliding on the road to the right, steer to the right. Remember not to take your hands off the steering wheel or thrash the brakes.
- During heavy snow, only use dipped headlights because conventional daytime lights are not enough.
- When the visibility drops below 100m, you need to turn on your fog lights. While remember to shut them off once the visibility improves.
- In case the roads are not gritted, be careful of driving on the wheel tracks of other cars because compressed snow is more slippery than fresh snow.
- Every controlling aspect like an accelerator, brake, steering, and even gear changing need to be done in a smooth and gently manner
- Lastly, keep your speed low to allow more time to steer and stop.
Tip: Clean your car regularly because the salt used to de-ice the roads can cause corrosion over time.
When you lose control
How measured your moves are or how deep the tread of your tires is, there’s always a possibility that you’ll lose control and spin. If you keep a cool mind and don’t panic, you can regain control. Otherwise, haste and dread can play a devastating role. You need to turn the wheel in the direction where your car is sliding with a deliberate motion of not more than a half crank.
This won’t be instinctual; you’ll logically want to go in the other direction to fix the problem. If you don’t brake too hard, the modern car’s stability-control systems will do a better job in straightening you. You wouldn’t want to jerk the steering wheel far away from straight ahead and make a slow motion. Don’t put too much strain on the brakes or throttle as it’ll reduce the system’s effectiveness. Car’s can even overheat in the chilly winter. Don’t forget that there are worse things that can happen than having to call for a tow truck service.
Call a Reliable Towing and Roadside Assistance Service
Navigating on winter road conditions takes practice and patience. Relying on an all-wheel-drive won’t serve you, but your vehicle’s winter readiness and the driving technique can save you. While trusting a reliable and experienced towing company like SPN America can save you from stress and hefty towing charges. SPN America’s extended towing network in the country can come to your rescue anywhere and at any time. We boast a team of highly professional and certified towing experts who know how and when to use which technique to get you out of trouble efficiently. Get in touch with us to know more about our services or request a quick towing and roadside assistance service at your location.