Seattle’s KING5 TV has some excellent tips for snow driving.
Before Winter Weather returns… Brush Up On Winter Driving
Snow doesn’t happen all that often in the Pacific Northwest, but when it does, it can be a real challenge for getting around. Most don’t have or need snow tires or carry chains, and few true Webfoots have has enough time driving on snow to get real practice time in. AWD or 4WD does not matter if you’re driving too fast for conditions, or don’t leave enough distance.
AAA has a full YouTube Playlist on Winter Driving!
Download this nifty brochure on driving in slippery conditions, I actually learned something reading it.
Here are some basic tips from King5TV:
Slow down. This should go without saying, but you still see people trying to go 60 when it’s below freezing on wet roads.
“Pay attention, leave space, and don’t drive too fast for the conditions,” said Jordan Cassidy, an instructor with Defensive Driving School in Seattle’s University District.
Increase your following distance. If you’re a tailgater, good luck if the person in front of you has to slam on the brakes while on ice.
Cassidy said a 10-second following distance is sometimes necessary in icy conditions.
“Normally you want four seconds, but in icy conditions, more is always better,” he said, explaining to pick a fixed point, like a stop sign, and when the car ahead of you reaches it, then start counting until your car reaches the same point.
Braking: When you see you’re about to come to a place you need to stop, don’t wait until the last minute. Take your foot off the gas and, if you can, shift to neutral so it takes power away from the drive wheels. Brake slowly and gently.
“You never want to have sudden braking or sudden acceleration,” said Cassidy.
All-wheel drive does not make you invincible: If all four wheels are on ice, you’re going to slide.
Let your windows defrost before you leave. Don’t try to navigate through a pinhole-sized opening in the frost on your windshield.
Drive with your lights on, even in the daylight. This is good practice even if it’s not snowing.
“One of the biggest problems people get into in snowy conditions or any other sort of conditions, is they have the exact same driving habits as when it’s nice outside,” said Cassidy.
Check your tires. The best move is to get snow tires. But if you decide against that, be sure your regular tires have plenty of tread. And make sure they’re properly inflated.
Replace your windshield wiper blades if they’re worn. And make sure your washer fluid is full with nonfreezing fluid.
Check your antifreeze. Make sure it will protect your engine in sub-freezing temperatures.
Bring survival supplies. Nobody plans on getting stuck in a ditch. That’s usually when they get stuck in a ditch. Have some food and water that can last you a couple of days if you get stranded, particularly if you’re traveling in rural areas. And have a first aid kit.