Some people may have forgotten about how to do this uncommon occurence here in East Tennessee: Driving in Snow.
Here’s a short primer.
After five years sliding through my fair share of intersections with a ’91 Camry in college, I’ve learned a couple of things about driving in snow. Many of us are staying home, but a few have to work, drive and get around. Here’s three tips that can help you get around safely.
- Drive 10 mph slower than you usually do. Don’t try to keep up with traffic whizzing past you.
- Leave at least a good two to three car lengths between you and the other cars on the road. This isn’t NASCAR. It takes much, much longer to stop in icy, snowy conditions.
- Assume other drivers have no idea what they’re doing. Because they probably don’t. Avoid them.
You can read about turning into the steer and other odds and ends out there, but I’m a fan of Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Nonetheless, here are few more handy tips:
- Be sure to clear your headlight lenses before driving. And use your headlights.
- Warm up your car a for an extra minute or two from a cold start. Not only does this make it cozier to hop in, scraping ice and snow off a warm windshield is easier.
- Scrape your entire windshield and side windows. Don’t be that person who just scrapes off the area in front of your steering wheel.
- When you park, lift your windshield wipers up from the dash. This will keep them from freezing to your windshield.
- When stuff is freezing, run the defroster on full heat. I’ve found this helps keep my wipers from getting stuck in nasty ice on my windshield. This may not work in all cars.
- If you find yourself in an empty parking lot with no cars and a fresh layer of snow, try slamming the brakes from about 10 mph. You get to learn how your car slides this way. Hopefully you won’t have to use this, but it can be helpful. But don’t do donuts. Seriously.
- Keep a flashlight in your car.
- If you have front wheel drive and crappy old tires (like I do), let about 5 lbs of air out if you’re driving in snow. This increases the surface area of the tire, helps with traction. Just remember to fill them back up when roads get clear.
- If you have all-wheel or 4 wheel drive, then you’re good in snow, but just as bad as most anyone else in ice.
- Watch the Olympics. Eat a frozen pizza. Make soup. Play board games. Read a book. Catch up on chores. Not much really will be gotten done out there in the world while we’re snowed under, so why fight it? Enjoy your snow day.