Image taken from Carstuckgirls.com
Snow driving tips
So you’ve done your safety checks, your fluids are topped off, windows are clean, car is warmed up, and staying in is not an option. Living in the Midwest has it’s challenges. Driving in the snow is one of them. The Chicago suburbs, specifically the Naperville / Plainfield area are notorious for bad driving conditions during heavy snow. While the mechanical upkeep of your vehicle is essential, oftentimes, there are factors at play that are unforeseen, such as weather. Unfortunately, the weather is out of our control, but these tips are a few things you can do to help make your drive a bit easier!
Throttle control is key:
When traction breaks and your tires lose grip, the fastest way to regain traction is to simply let off the throttle. Friction is key in keeping traction. Static friction is greatest at the beginning or when a car is stopped. Once you get moving, rolling friction comes into play. This transition should be as fast and smooth as possible. In order to accomplish this, you need to leave a spot slowly. Letting the car idle out is ideal so the next time you’re stuck try this, get the car to rock out of its place and then let it idle to where you’re trying to get. The temptation to press the accelerator will be high, but the goal is to get the car moving first. Once moving try to idle to a spot with more traction. Taking off traction control and hammering the throttle may be fun, but the spinning tires creates packed down snow, leading to ice. This will only make things worse!
The car will go the direction the tires pointed:
This may seem like common sense, but often times I hear of people spinning out who may of not fully understand this. If you’re headed straight and are keeping a safe speed, the likelihood of losing control in a spin is greatly reduced, as long as you have the tires pointed in direction you want to head. If you start to lose control, let off throttle and point the wheels the direction you want to maintain, make no sudden or quick movements, as this is your best bet to regain control. If you have to change lanes remember, let the car coast through the snowy ruts! Try to resist pushing the accelerator pedal when changing lanes to help prevent a possible spin-out.
Stomp, Hold and Steer:
If you’re in a slide and your car is equipped with ABS, remember these three things. Stomp – Hold the brake pedal hard and fast. Hold – Keep the pressure on the pedal. Steer- look for a good place to direct the vehicle safely and aim for that spot. On ice this method may have to be modified a bit, instead of Hold – Hard constant pressure, let up a bit so the ABS pulses slow. On vehicles without abs, you’ll have to deal with the old pulsing the pedal until the vehicle comes to a halt.
Pay attention, don’t be cocky:
I hear it all the time, “I have snow tires, all wheel drive, front wheel drive, a truck, ect., I am an experienced snow driver, I’ll be fine”. You see these people flying on the highway, trying to do close to or above the speed limit. They don’t extend their following distance, pushing people slower than them by riding them closely. If you really were an experienced driver, then you would know that it has nothing to do with how good of a driver you are; it’s how you respond to those who aren’t. Being prepared for someone to make a mistake is what makes the difference. Slow down, read the road, give ample time and room,and try to predict what someone might do. If you wake up and snow is on the ground, your commute is going to take longer. Accept that before you clear the snow off your vehicle . Aggressiveness and frustration are only going to make your ride worse and leave you open to a potentially costly accident.
Hopefully these simple tips can help you navigate through the treacherous weather this winter. Regardless, please remember to drive safe!