Forget “winter is coming.” Winter is here. And along with the joys of the first snow, spending time with your family, and giving amazing gifts to loved ones comes one of the worst things about the colder months: driving in the snow. Perhaps you’re an old pro, but if you’re a new or nervous driver, tackling snowy roads can be a real nightmare. At Jim Harte Nissan, we’ve put together these tips to help you learn the best practices for driving in the snow.
- Slow down! You might like to drive like a bat out of hell in nice weather (although we don’t recommend that ever), but in the snow you really need to relax and take it easy. Your stopping distance is greater on snowy or icy roads, and the faster you go, the longer it’ll take you to stop, making an accident much more likely.
- Be visible. Even if you can see just fine, turn on your headlights when it’s snowing. You want to make sure that oncoming traffic sees you well before they pass you. A good rule of thumb is to turn your headlights on whenever your windshield wipers are on—that goes for rain as well as snow.
- Stay behind snow plows. Snow plow drivers have limited visibility as it is, and you passing them and spraying ice or snow onto their windshields can make it even worse. Additionally, the road is likely to be in much worse condition ahead of the snow plow than behind. Stay back, and keep your distance.
- Brake correctly. Drivers whose cars have standard brakes should pump them gently when they want to come to a stop. If your car has anti-lock brakes (and most modern cars do), apply steady pressure to the brakes instead. No matter which types of brakes you have, always start braking well in advance of where you plan on stopping.
- Be prepared. If disaster strikes and your car breaks down in inclement weather, you’ll want to be fully prepared. Before heading out in snowy weather, make sure you’ve packed an emergency kit containing a shovel, a flashlight, energy bars, water, a blanket, socks, hats, mittens, and a first-aid kit. If there’s anything else you can think of that you’d need in an emergency while driving in the snow, make sure that’s packed too.
From all of us here at Jim Harte Nissan, we wish you a safe and warm winter, and we hope our tips for driving in the snow will prove useful in the coming months.