Driving in winter weather may be second-nature for the Idaho native, but here at BYU-Idaho, not everyone knows the how-to when it comes to driving in wintry conditions. Here are some easy tips for driving in snow and ice.
- Check the weather
Before you head out the door, always look to see what the future weather may be like. The weather can be unpredictable and it is best to know what you might run into while you are on the road. The Weather Channel offers a free app for both Android and iOS users to help you become more aware of the weather.
- Be prepared
You never know what could happen when you are on the road in wintry conditions. Always be prepared for any situation. Have your car stocked with a flashlight, jumper cables, a warm blanket, gloves, nonperishable snacks, ice scraper and flares or reflectors. Having just these few items in your car during the winter months will be essential in case of an emergency.
- Protect your windshield
An iced-over windshield is never a good way to start your morning, and a bucket of hot water won’t lead to results you’ll enjoy. Go out a few minutes early and turn on your defrosters. With your defrosters on, it’ll be easier to scrape the ice off your windshield. Plastic ice scrapers have better results and are less likely to damage your windshield.
- Plan ahead
Before you hit the road, it’s best to plan out your route and how long you plan to be gone. Let someone know where you will be. Let them know when you leave and when you plan to return. Allow plenty of time to get to and from your destination. Be aware of multiple ways to get to your destination. Roads may be blocked off or difficult to travel and having multiple travel plans will help getting to your destination safely.
- Don’t stop going up hill
Now that you’re on the road, getting around may become more difficult. As you are making your way up a hill, don’t stop. Once you’re stopped on a hill, moving becomes near to impossible on an icy road. Get going on a flat road and then make your way up hill. Don’t apply extra gas on snow-covered roads it’ll just get your wheels spinning. Work your way up the hill.
- Leave room
On normal roads, it is best to leave three to four seconds from the car in front of you. When on icy or snow-covered roads try to leave eight to ten seconds from the car in front of you. Leaving this space from the car in front of you will give you time and longer distance if you need to stop.
- Take your time
In winter weather, don’t plan on going fast. On snow-covered roads it takes longer to accelerate, stop, and turn. Giving yourself time to maneuver is not only safe for you, but for the drivers around you. You must be alert driving in any situation, but when it comes to winter driving it is best to slow down.
- Don’t slam on the brakes
Brakes work differently when it comes to slick roadways. It will take more time and distance to stop on icy roads, brake carefully and early. When you’re driving and feel your tires start to slip, don’t slam on the brakes. What you should do is ease off the accelerator and let your car slow down on its own. Slamming on your brakes will remove traction from your tires and you’ll lose control of your car.
- Drive only if necessary
If it is not necessary for you to be out don’t go out and travel in the snow. You may be a great driver in the snow and ice, but not everyone around you may be as well versed in winter weather. If you don’t have to be somewhere to be, then sit this trip out until the conditions clear up.
10. Don’t panic
If you are ever in a situation where you begin to skid or get stuck, don’t panic. When you panic, driving you’ll be inclined to slam on the brakes and on icy roads slamming on the brakes won’t be good. If you are stuck, call 911 and stay in your vehicle.