A Beginner’s Guide to Driving in Snow

If you have just passed your test and have never driven in snow before, you might underestimate just how much more care you need to take on the roads. Driving through adverse weather conditions is never recommended but if you have a vital reason to get in the car, you need to know how to do is safely.

Here are three simple tips for preventing a winter car accident and staying safe on the road.

Take it Easy

When you walk on ice, what is your natural instinct? You go slowly, feeling your way forwards without making any rash movements. This is just how you should drive. Accelerate gradually, keep to a low speed and be gentle with your brakes. Don’t forget that if the road is slippery then your stopping distance will be longer. Brake sooner than you would normally and roll steadily to a stop. You should also increase the distance between you and the car in front. If you feel that someone is following you too closely or is driving dangerously, pull over and let them overtake you without a fuss. You need to focus on your own driving.

Image Credit: Pxhere

If You Start to Skid…

Steer in the direction you want to go in, then keep light steady pressure on the gas to help right your car. Resist the urge to slam on the brakes as this will make your skid a lot worse and you could quickly lose control of your vehicle. Stay nice and calm until your car rights itself or comes to a stop. Take a few minutes to pause and calm yourself down if you need to before you continue on your journey.

If You Get Stranded…

Being stranded in winter is not a nice idea, especially in poor weather, so you need to make sure you are well prepared before you set out. Always keep a rug in the car so that you can wrap up warm and be sure that you’ve got a full tank of gas so that you can run the engine every hour to get some warm air. Have an emergency rescue [phone number in your phone so that you can call for help quickly.

Definitely don’t bother wasting your energies on trying to dig your car out and do not leave your vehicle to try and get help. Just stay put to conserve your energy and heat. Similarly, don’t be tempted to put the inner lights on as this will run your battery down. Sit tight, stay warm.

As a learner or a newly qualified driver, it can be easy to feel pressured by other drivers on the road and act hastily. In the winter, you must avoid this. Go at your own pace and be really careful as you drive. Older, more experienced drivers might think that they know it all but overconfidence in adverse weather conditions can kill. Trust your instincts and watch out for signs that you might be skidding and respond slowly. If you need to remember just one thing it is this: don’t be hasty.

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About Sean Mackay

Sean writes about cars, golf and events going on in British Columbia, Canada. He is also the editor for The Automotive Review – an automotive publication bringing a West Coast flavour to its editorials.

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