Have you brushed up on your winter driving tips? With November here and December just around the corner, colder weather is sure to move in soon. Especially in St. Louis and other parts of the Midwest, snow and ice storms are a normal part of winter. If you’re new to driving or you have a teenaged driver, now is a good time to familiarize yourself with winter driving tips so that you and your loved ones won’t end up stuck in the cold.
Winter Driving Tips for Teens
The best way to stay safe in winter weather is to avoid driving altogether. However, this might not be possible for you — so you should still learn these winter driving tips for the times when travel is necessary!
Winter Driving Tips: Icy Roads
Follow these winter driving tips when you’re on icy roads, and you should avoid accidents:
- Turn your headlights on to ensure other drivers can see you.
- When road conditions become icy, slow down and be sure to leave plenty of room — 3 times the normal amount — between yourself and other cars should you need to stop.
- Use your brakes gently — this will help you avoid skidding. Ease off your brake if your wheels begin to lock up.
- To keep traction on hills, use lower gears.
- Avoid using overdrive or cruise control in icy conditions.
- Use extra caution while driving on bridges, overpasses, and lesser-used roads.
When rear wheels skid…
Use these winter driving tips to stop rear skidding:
- Remove your foot from the accelerator.
- Always steer in the direction you want your front wheels to go. For example, when your rear wheels slide left, steer left. When they slide right, steer right.
- Your rear wheels might slide the other direction during your recovery. If so, gently ease the steering wheel that way. You may have to alternate steering right and left to get your car under control.
- If your brakes are standard, gently pump them. If they are anti-lock, do not pump them, but rather apply steady pressure to them. You will feel them pulse — don’t worry, this is normal!
When front wheels skid…
These winter driving tips will help when your front wheels are sliding:
- Remove your foot from the gas, then shift to neutral. Do not try to steer right away.
- Your vehicle will slow and traction will return while your wheels skid sideways. As you are regaining traction, steer the way you want to go.
- Put your transmission in drive or release your clutch, accelerating slowly.
Winter Driving Tips: Driving in Snow
Driving in snow can be dangerous. Follow these winter driving tips to stay safe:
- Always slow down and speed up slowly. To avoid skids and regain traction, apply your gas slowly when accelerating.
- Every maneuver takes longer when driving in snow. Slow down and give yourself time to stop and turn.
- Use threshold breaking — keep your heel on the floor and, using the ball of your foot, apply steady and firm pressure to your brake pedal.
- Avoid powering up hills. Accelerating on snowy roads makes your wheels spin. When approaching a hill, get some inertia going and let it carry you to the top. At the crest of the hill, slow down and continue slowly down the hill.
If You Get Stuck in Snow…
These winter driving tips will get your car unstuck in no time:
- Spinning your wheels will only dig your car in deeper. Rather, gently press the gas to ease out your car.
- Turning your wheels side to side will push snow out of your way.
- Rock your vehicle by shifting from forward to reverse, then back. When you’re in gear, press the gas lightly until your car moves. (Be sure to consult your manual first, as this can damage some vehicles’ transmissions).
- Sometimes winter driving tips go beyond accelerating and steering. You may St. Louis | Winter Driving Tips | Meyer's Serviceneed to get out of your car to get all the way unstuck. Try:
- Using a shovel to remove snow from around your wheels or the underside of your car.
- Using sand, cat litter, gravel, or salt to help you get traction — just drizzle some in the path of your wheels.
Always Practice Winter Driving Tips
Driving in snow and icy conditions can be tricky, but you can stay safe by following our winter driving tips. It’s a good idea to practice these winter driving tips in a safe place, like an open parking lot, when it snows. That way, you’ll feel more prepared when it comes to implementing our winter driving tips on the road!