It appears winter is officially here in Nova Scotia and I thought this was the appropriate time to share parts of this great article that I found online on http://tipsforfamilytrips.com.
6 tips for safely driving in snow
1. Before you leave home
Before driving in snow, your car needs good tires and its maintenance should be up-to-date. For city driving or on mostly flat terrain, any vehicle with good all-weather tires may be fine. If you are driving in a mountainous area, you may need snow tires or even chains. A 4-wheel drive vehicle may be necessary for steep slopes, deep snow or unpaved roads.
Here are a few more things to take care of before you hit the road:
- If your car has been out in the cold for awhile, let it run for a few minutes before you drive.
- Clear snow from windows and headlights.
- Keep your gas tank full to prevent the fuel line from freezing. If you become stranded, you may need the fuel to run the car heater until help arrives.
- Make sure everyone has coats and good shoes, and keep snacks and drinks in the car in case you become stranded.
2. Slow down
Slow down whenever there is snow on the road. Ignore the speed limit and drive at a speed that allows you to maneuver and use your brakes without sliding.
If you are driving a high-clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle, you are not exempt from this rule. These vehicles may be better built for driving in snow, but the laws of physics apply to them too. I’ve seen plenty of trucks and SUVs stranded on the side of the road in snow storms.
3. Leave extra space between yourself and other drivers
Leave yourself and other drivers plenty of room for error. Slides can be difficult to avoid on snow-packed roads, even for good drivers. If you leave extra space between your car and others, it will be much easier to avoid an accident when a slide or traffic slowdown occurs.
4. Pump your brakes
When roads are covered in snow, you can’t always count on your brakes to stop the car. Even at slow speeds, the car may keep sliding when you brake.
Begin your stop well in advance. Put your foot on the brake for a couple of seconds to help slow the car down. Take your foot off the brake, then put it back on for a couple of seconds to slow the car again. Repeat until you slow enough for the tires to grip and stop. The more slippery the road, the more space you will need to stop.
5. When you slide, steer out of it
If you start to slide, don’t panic. Take your foot off the gas AND the brake and steer out of it. A little steering goes a long way, so be careful not to over-correct. If you have been driving slowly enough and are far enough from other cars, you should be able to regain control quickly and easily.
If you cannot regain control without sliding into an intersection or causing an accident, steer yourself out of traffic as much as you can. Pump the brakes to slow yourself, but don’t hold down the brake pedal. Do what you can to minimize damage and injury to yourself and others.
6. Know when to stay home!
Even if you are skilled at driving in snow, it is often a good idea to not drive at all.
There is no special event or amount of money that is worth risking your own or your family’s safety if weather conditions are unsafe.
Like many travel adventures, successful snow driving is about good planning. Make sure your vehicle is up to the task before you leave. Use common sense and stay calm.
Happy and Safe Winter Driving!