Last weekend, my husband and I planned a night away to the White Barn Inn in Maine. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t exactly cooperate with our plans, and we ended up driving to Maine in a snowstorm. Being from Massachusetts, we are somewhat used to driving in the snow, but it’s never easy to drive in the snow. We decided to ask some experts for tips on driving in the snow.
Tips for Driving in the Snow
Before You Leave on Your Trip
Know the differences among various winter weather advisories. The National Weather Service issues several cautions; understand what they mean before you hit the road: Winter weather advisories are for conditions that may be hazardous, but should not become life-threatening when using caution. Winter storm watches mean that severe winter conditions may affect your area and are issued 12-36 hours in advance of major storms. Winter storm warnings mean a storm bringing four or more inches of snow/sleet is expected in the next 12 hours, or six or more inches in 24 hours. Blizzard warnings mean snow and strong winds will produce blinding snow, deep drifts, and a life-threatening wind chill. – Momaboard.com
If you have tow straps, keep them in the trunk. Never know when you will need a tow (or need to tow someone). Getting out of a bad situation with a family is crucial. Tow straps can get you out of a pinch without having to call a tow truck. Most likely you will run across someone with a truck/SUV that will be able to strap up and help you out. – Mountainreservations.com
Ensure you have proper tread on your tires and that you check your tire pressure frequently. As cold temperatures move in, the air inside a tire contracts and causes the pressure to drop one or two pounds for every 10-degree drop. A properly inflated tire will offer better traction, performance and mileage. – Cody Cook, vice president and product manager for Erie Insurance
The most important tip for anyone venturing out on wintertime roads is to be prepared. Our family packs a plastic bin with sleeping bags, flashlights/headlamps, non-perishable food, water, trash bags, a firelog (like Duraflame), lighter, cash, a car-charger for the cell phone, and chemical hand warmers. This bin stays in our vehicle the entire winter. Additionally, no one leaves the house without a hat, gloves, warm coat, and boots. – Erin Kirkland, AKontheGO.com
Check Your Windshield Wipers and Fluid: Windshield wipers work well for approximately one year. Windshield wiper fluid makes it easier to clear rain, sleet and snow off of your windshield – just make sure you read the container to figure out the freezing point of the wiper fluid to ensure the fluid you buy is resistant enough for your climate’s temperatures. - James Bell, GM Head of Consumer Affairs
During Your Trip
Imagine you have a long stemmed wine glass half full as your hood ornament. Drive like you don’t want to spill it. That helps keep all of your control inputs smooth and steady. – Eric Gaden, AdventureNickel.com
Try not to use your brakes in the snow as much as possible. Although it a habit, braking can lock up your wheels and cause you to slide further. Utilize your lower gears (1,2,3) to slow your car down ahead of time. Keeps the wheels moving and keeps traction, prevents fish-tailing. Look far enough ahead and you can plan slowdowns without brakes. – Mountainreservations.com
Go SLOW and don’t mistake the limitations of 4WD. 4WD without winter tires doesn’t mean a whole lot on icy roads – yet 4WD is known for giving drivers a false sense of security.- Amelia Richmond, Squaw Valley
What tips do you have for driving in winter weather?