Tips for Driving in the Snow

Road Trip Tips for Driving in the Snow
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. –

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. –

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,

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,

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. –

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?

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About Jodi Grundig

Jodi Grundig has loved traveling since she was a little girl. She started blogging in 2007 on her popular review site Mom's Favorite Stuff and after doing quite a bit of family traveling, decided to launch her own travel blog. Jodi resides in Massachusetts with her husband, eight-year old son, ten-year old daughter, and Havanese dog.


  1. My best tip is to remember that the other drivers might not have control – you can have the best control and plenty of experience, but you always have to watch out for others. :)

  2. As a Southern Californian, I would not do well driving in the snow. We can barely handle driving when it drizzles. :)

  3. My husband and I are experienced snow drivers, but we learned a few years ago that traveling during a storm may not be worth the risk. We were driving from Salt Lake City to St. George, Utah, which usually takes 4-5 hours. We drove during a blizzard, stopping frequently to clean the accumulated ice off of our windshield wipers. When we passed a stranded snow plow in a mountain pass, we knew we were crazy. After eight white knuckle hours, we finally reached our destination safely, but we won’t tempt fate that way again. It’s not worth it.

  4. Reminds me of my days living in Alaska! One of the most difficult things was not getting hypnotized by the massive snowflakes as you drove. Such a strange concept for this Florida girl!

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