Thursday, November 13, 2014

10 Tips for Driving in Snow

The first snow of the season has snuck up on us here in Idaho! That being said, there are some TERRIBLE drivers made worse by the weather. I am talking about life-endangering idiots who think that a four-wheel drive vehicle means they can gun it on the same road as you and your children are driving on. That's why I decided to offer some tips: to help everyone be a safer driver, whether you are a seasoned snow driver or not.

1. Go slow.
You don't HAVE to go the speed limit. If there is ice on the road or snow blowing across it, slow down. It will give you more time to stop in case you slide, and your sliding won't be as destructive.

2. Be mindful of others.
No, we aren't the only people on the road. Stay focused on the task at hand (driving), and pay close attention to every car around you. Try to avoid trucks that want to go way too fast; they may spin out and endanger you. 

3. Give everyone extra space.
In drivers education, we are taught to leave a car length's space between us and the car ahead of us. Double that when you drive on icy roads in the city. It will also give you more time to stop, in case of a spin-out or if the person in front of you starts to slide.

4. Take the time to warm up your car.
A warm car will help you keep your car in good shape and make it easier to keep your eyes on the road. You shouldn't be rubbing your hands together while trying to drive! If there is snow on the ground, give your vehicle at least 10 minutes of idling to warm up the engine before leaving the house.

5. Keep all windows clear.
This is very important... and required by the state. Use a scraper to clear the snow off of all windows and mirrors. A single snowy window is a blind spot, which can be terrifying in a storm, when trying to pull out in an icy parking lot, or when trying to change lanes. Wear gloves, and scrape!

6. Avoid the roads after dark.
I know this isn't possible for everyone every time. But. When at all possible, leave home or work early. The temperature drops when the sun goes down, and all that melted slouch on the roads will quickly become black ice. Be especially careful and watchful if you are driving after dark.

7. Don't text or accept calls while driving.
First off, you shouldn't be texting and driving ever. When the roads are snowy, don't answer your phone, period. Even a moment of taking your hands off the wheel and your attention from the road can make it so you aren't able to avoid collision with the car ahead of you.

8. Keep the radio on low.
This has to do with staying focused. You will want to be aware of the sounds your car makes, as well as the sounds of cars outside. There could be horns blaring, sirens wailing, crashing of vehicles ... and you didn't hear any of it over the sound of your music. So, please keep the tunes on low! If you have kids in the car, give them a quiet game to play, like Eye-Spy.

9. Always have your defrost on.
The defrost setting in your car sends heat to the windows. It melts the ice so you don't have to scrape it off. It also keeps your windows from fogging up while you drive. Your body produces heat, and having the heater on does, too, but the windows are still cold. The heat will cause the windows to fog up suddenly, which means you won't be able to see where you are going. Don't worry, though. Most cars have an option for defrost and bottom heat.

10. Dress warm.
You never know when you will be in an accident, when you will have to walk 4 blocks to the nearest gas station, or when the heater will go out suddenly on the way home. Hats, scarves, gloves, boots, coat. Don't leave home without them.

Bonus tips! (Because I thought of them AFTER having made the picture)

11. Keep blankets in the car.
Refer to point number ten. Blankets will keep you warm if you have to leave your car. They will also keep your kids warm if they have to stay in the car.

12. Leave 15 minutes earlier than you normally would if there is snow on the ground. You don't want to be in a rush to get to work when you are driving on ice. It's not safe for you or anyone else on the road.

13. Give yourself time to stop.
Normally, you can halt to a stop if you need to. When the roads are snowy, that won't work. Give yourself time to stop slowly, that way you won't be sliding all over the place! 


  1. Yes! Never text while driving! Keeping blankets in the car is also a great idea.