Guide to Driving in the Snow

January 21st, 2018
Location  •   New England

Guide to Driving in the Snow | The Coastal Confidence

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This post has been long overdue, I mean with the number of snow-covered roads New Englanders have already navigated this year, I feel like this post had to get published sooner than later. While I’ve been openly accepting and appreciating the beautiful snowy scenes, this winter has thrown at us, I’ll never be laissez-faire about having to drive, in the snow. I initially wanted Matt to write this post because he has a lot more experience when it comes to driving in winter conditions, but due to his busy schedule (he’s too much) I’m here to share the notes he provided me with.

Driving in the snow will always be my least favorite winter activity, I mean I would rather walk to the supermarket than drive if snow or ice hits. Yet, sometimes you have to pull on your big-boy snow boots and get in your car and go. When I was chatting with Matt about this post he shared some amazing tips and tricks on how to get you from point A to point B, in the safest way possible. So here is our guide to driving in the snow!

+ Check Your Local Conditions: First things first, Matt always urges me to check driving conditions the night before any early morning meetings when snow or below zero temperatures are on the radar. Will there be snowy roads? Icy roads, from melted snow that refroze overnight? It is important to understand the conditions you are driving in and most importantly inform others, that you are heading out in bad weather and when you think you’ll be back. It’s so easy to get stuck or skid off the road in poor conditions, so make sure to let others know where you are going and when they should expect to see you back.

+ Clear Snow Off Your Car: I mean this is an obvious one if you live in Connecticut because you can actually get a ticket for driving with snow-covered car roofs or windows. Nothing is scary than being behind a car on a day after a snow storm to see a huge chunk of snow sliding off their roof and onto the road or even worse the hood of your car. Before heading out just clear snow from the roof, car lights and windshield wipers and windows.

+ Driving Tips: It takes longer to accelerate, decelerate, turn and maneuver when driving in snow, so drive slow and give yourself plenty of time to get from point A to point B. When driving make sure to use low-beam headlights to avoid light reflecting off the snow and give at least eight seconds in following distance, between the car in front of you and yourself. Accelerate slowly, giving your tires time to grab the snowy roads and move forward with control; alongside breaking slowly and lightly overtime to stay in control and prevent spinouts due to sudden stops.

+ Don’t Stop & Won’t Stop: If there is a lot of snow on the road, stopping can become an issue. Snowy Road conditions can leave you and your tires with little to no traction on the road, which can make starting up from a full stop quite tricky. When it comes to breaking, just keep the heel of your foot on the floor and break with the ball of your foot to apply steady pressure; whatever you do resist from slamming on the gas or your breaks. Slamming on your breaks will lock up your tires, thus preventing your tires from gripping the snow and coming to a stopping point.

+ Drive With a Shovel: If you know you must go out in the snow, grab a shovel, flashlight, and a small bag of salt to place in your car in case you get stuck in a snowbank. Getting stuck in snowy road conditions is not a fun time but having a shovel to help free your tires and salt to provide traction, will make the experience a tiny bit less horrid.

+ Stay at Home: Ideally if it is snowy and winter advisories are out, I would highly recommend staying home. Driving in the snow is no joke, so if you have the choice to stay put, take that option. Work from home, stay safe and wait until the roads are safely plowed before venturing out into New England’s winter wonderland.

Okay, those are the tips Matt and I have for you all today. I would love to hear any tips you guys have below. Also, I can’t believe we’ve already had so many snow days this early in Winter, I feel like this is going to be one chilly season, anyone else agree?

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