As this thread says Driving tips from Gurus to Beginners let me add some value to it. I am no guru but have been driving for almost 12-13 years now and around 5 years in snow as well. So I will try to add some tips for driving in snow. I hope it helps our fellow members and guests who have to drive in snow.
I have been in US for almost 5 years now and it was here when I drove in snow, ice, sleet andsnow storms for the first time in my life. And yes these tips have helped me a lot to outlive in these bad weather conditions.
1. First advice from my side for driving in snow or really bad weather conditions is do not drive in these conditions. But if you still have to then,
- Check you tire thread. Tires should have good amount of thread and if you planning a trip where it’s all snow and ice then try replacing your tires to Winter Tires. Don’t get fooled by all weather tires. Why because they are not really meant for deep snow and icy road conditions driving. They are basically meant for summer, rain, winters, loose gravel etc.
- Check all your lights and keep your windshields clean all the time. Lights are very very important since they play a major role when the visibility is low and the oncoming traffic can only sense you by lights.
- Always be extra careful while driving on bridges. WHY? Because bridges and overpasses get frozen very quickly, hence creating icy conditions.
- Don’t think that you are the king of the road and will sustain any condition if you are driving a 4wd, AWD vehicle. Because if there are icy conditions then even a heavy SUV equipped with 4wd option will fail and skid. Even the big Semai trucks full of load can skid, so forget about a SUV.
- Always drive slow and keep a good amount of distance from the vehicle in front of you. I would say double the distance which you keep in normal driving conditions.
- Always keep a shovel and a scrapper in your car and if planning a long trip then some sand, salt and leather gloves (because they won’t get wet unlike the woolen ones).
- And above all sufficient fuel, A full tank will save you time and will increase the weight as well.
- Another tip if you don’t have a scrapper and you have ice on your windshield, use your ATM or credit card to remove the ice.
- Keep plenty of drinking water, food, extra clothes, good flash light and mobile with a charged battery (would be nice if you carry car charger). These things will come in handy if you get stuck somewhere. Problems encountered while driving:
- Now if you are driving and all of a sudden your car starts skidding. First thing remove your foot from the accelerator and don’t brake hard, if you do it will make your car skid even more and faster. Why, because aggressive acceleration will make your tires loose traction. So what you do is take your foot from the accelerator, steer in the direction in which your car is skidding and press brakes slowly then release them, again press and then release. Keep doing this and parallel you might have to steer left and right with it to regain traction or until your car stops.
- Try to gain control over your speed by shifting down first rather than using brakes or with minimal usage of brakes.
- Worst Case Scenario:
If you see that you are literally loosing the traction and you have incoming traffic or an obstacle and you think you may collide then in that case the best thing to do is ether to take your car off the road or use the side railings to stop your car. I know it might damage the car with some dents but it’s better than colliding with the oncoming traffic. So main point here is to take support of something to stop your car.
- Now if you have ABS
, you'll be able to tell that ABS
has triggered by feeling a pulsing sensation through the brake pedal. If this has occurred do not 'pump' the brakes – rather keep a firm pressure on the pedal for maximum effectiveness. You might feel something is wrong with your brakes or tires but be patient, it is supposed to be that way.
- If you get stuck in the snow please never do wheel spin as it will only create more trouble for you as your tires will get deeper in the snow. Come out of the car and don’t forget to put on your emergency lights (Blinkers) on before stepping out of the car which will alert other cars on the road. So come out use the shovel to remove the snow around the tire and put some sand, gravel or salt so that your tire can get grip.
- Move your steering left and right. Take your car forward and then take it reverse in the same direction or opposite direction, repeat this couple of times and you should be good.
- Also change your gears sooner than usual because it will reduce the torque hence you can retain the traction.
- If you have 4-5 people in the car then the best thing to do is you take the driver seat and put the car in 1 gear or in D mode (Drive for automatic version) and let other people push it and you accelerate the car, can be bit hard as well (depending on the situation). Car will come out.
- Now the most dangerous thing is BLACK ICE. Black ice is transparent hence very hard to notice while driving, but you might feel it as your tires will lose traction all of a sudden and regain it back. All this happens really quickly but you will come to know if you are a sedate driver. If you encounter that be extra careful, reduce your speed and keep checking the road by pushing your brakes frequently. And if you feel that it’s all over. STOP, do not drive. Park your car somewhere safe. You cannot fight with Black ICE even the best 4wd option can’t.
- The reason I said to STOP was because let’s say you keep driving and the rods starts declining, then in that situation you won’t be able to stop your car and your car and this can be really dreadful. Same goes with incline, your car will keep sliding down until and unless you reach a point where the road is even, straight or you hit something which can hold you.
Below are some videos just to give you an example, that how bad is Black IcE and what it is capable of doing.