6 Tips for Driving in the Snow and Not Crashing

6 Tips for Driving in the Snow and Not Crashing

If you were one of the lucky North Americans who got hit by your first winter storm of the year last night, you probably woke up to terrible driving conditions.

It’s inevitable that the first storm of the year will be met with terrible drivers who have forgotten how to drive in the winter. Here are some things you can do to ease the pain and stay safe.

1. Proper winter tires are a must


Even the crappiest winter tires are better in cold, snowy conditions than good all-season tires. The difference is in how much grip you’ll get. Simply put, winter tires use rubber that’s more effective in the cold and have special tread that gives you more grip. And having all-wheel drive doesn’t mean you’re invincible in the snow – you still need winter tires.

ALSO SEE: Winter Tire Buyer’s Guide

2. Clear the damn snow off your car

winter storm

It’s dangerous when drivers don’t clear the snow and ice from their cars. It reduces a driver’s visibility out of the car, and the ice and snow can blow off and pose a risk to other drivers on the road. Take the few extra minutes to clear all the snow and ice off your car before you get going.

3. Smooth driving is safe driving

2015 Dodge Challanger Scat Pack Shaker

Try to keep your inputs smooth. Don’t be jerky with braking, acceleration and turning. Any sudden movements will increase the possibility of upsetting the car’s balance and losing control in slippery conditions. If your car has a snow/winter mode, use it. It will usually start the car in second gear so you won’t spin your tires when you try to accelerate from a stop.

4. Never use cruise control in bad conditions

Cruise Control

You should only use cruise control in dry conditions because cruise control is meant to maintain a wheel’s speed regardless of the conditions. You need to be in full control in bad driving conditions so you can make faster decisions. Also, if you hydroplane, having cruise control engaged can make the situation much more dangerous. When you hydroplane, you need to take your foot off the gas to reduce momentum, and if cruise control is on, it will have the opposite affect and you’ll have to press the brakes to disengage it. Mashing on the brakes will increase the possibility of losing more control (see #3).

5. Don’t drive faster than you’re comfortable


This seems obvious, but if you’re not comfortable driving in the snow, don’t do it. If you need to drive slower, move to the right lane so people can pass you. If you feel uncomfortable, the best thing is to just slow down and don’t panic.

6. If you’re losing control, look where you want to go


If you find yourself losing control, don’t mash on the brakes and close your eyes. Take your foot off the gas, look where you want to go, and smoothly steer in that direction.

Good luck and stay safe this winter!

  • smartacus

    Tip #7: Move Down South.
    Less shoveling (and less income taxes)

  • R P Daniels

    Winter driving is a learned skill and one not taught in driving schools or at high school driver’s education courses. Never assume you can drive in snow if you haven’t lived in a winter climate or a part of the country were it snows at least 6 months of the year. Ice and snow are unforgiving and brutal on inexperienced drivers.

    The three absolutes of winter driving are:
    1) Proper tires. All season tires should be called 3 season tires. For spring, summer & fall Only. Get snow tires.
    2) Skill. Nothing can replace winter driving education. Take a course and be safe.
    3) All wheel drive & 4 wheel drive are great additions to winter driving skills, not a replacement. Know your vehicle’s limitations and yours too.

  • Tim

    4.) And stop left-laning!!! Its annoying when the unprepared drivers hold up everyone who actually thought ahead to be prepared for winter.

    I inevitably get stuck behind a bunch of left laners who want to drive 10 miles an hour because they weren’t prepared for the snow.

  • 2wheelobsessed

    I legitimately enjoy driving in the snow, blizzards are a bonus. I drive a half ton pickup and every major snowstorm me and a buddy drive around and look for people to pull outta snow banks (free of course, it’s just plain fun to do!) but one thing they missed is practicing in it! New drivers need to be taken to a safe open area like a closed mall parking lot in the snow and practice in their own car. See how it feels when it loses traction, starts to spin, loses the front during a turn, gaining that feel in a controlled environment before being released onto the public rds should be mandatory. Not everybody is a car guy like we are and legitimately don’t know how to handle a car properly in the dry never mind snow and ice. If the first time you spin a car out is on the highway in traffic in snow your done for. Plus practicing these things is so damn fun!

  • Mike

    And lower intellect, as you’ve shown over the past several years. And I’m guessing less teeth doesn’t bother you either.

  • Mike

    Yah, they vote Republican and suck up all the government welfare. Welcome to the South.

  • smartacus

    hahaha! oh man. You have been a delightful source of relaxation for me over the years. Voluntarily coming here just to make yourself look like a court jester for my personal enjoyment.
    Here’s to hoping for more 1+1=3 comments from your substance abused brain.
    Hope you have a good potluck with some more of your prime gold Jamaican pot this New Years

  • smartacus

    Oh snap! i had no idea you were a Dumbocrat.
    I thought you were a John Boehner Mitch McConnell Paul Ryan 2nd Class Citizen Establishment Republican.
    Well have i got a joke for you!
    A picture of your face this November when your beloved Hillarity or Colonel Chicken Sanders loses. You are gonna be crying 🙂

  • Jeff T

    Don’t forget to not put on your four ways. Every vehicle is in the same situation around you. Definitely an unsafe distraction if you’re not actually I’m distress.