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Winter Driving Tips for Snow and Ice

By: StaffPublished September 13, 2021

Know What You're Driving

Is your car two-wheel or four wheel drive? Does it have anti-lock brakes, traction control or stability control? Do you have a set of winter tires or are they all-weather tires? Each of these features can directly impact how your car handles on the ice and the snow. To get a feel for how these features interact with each other, take the time to practice driving in an empty, but snowy, parking lot. Check out our Best AWD Used Cars lists.

Make Room for Other Drivers

Believe it or not, the time period between November and March is one of the busiest highway travel seasons of the year. To avoid rear-ending others on these crowded highways, be sure to leave three times the normal space between you and the car in front of you.

Add Some Weight

Is your car rear wheel drive? Then those rear tires may need a little help maintaining their grip. Consider adding extra weight behind the rear axle (the rear axle is the rod that runs between your rear tires). This added weight will help to keep those tires on the pavement, which will increase traction. If you are not sure what to use for weight, 20lbs bags of sand are an inexpensive option.

Beware Of Black Ice

Black ice gets its name because it blends in with the black asphalt of the road, making it next to impossible to spot. The best advice is to never feel overconfident on a road the looks perfectly clear. And remember, if a road looks wet or slick, there is a good chance that black ice is present.

Brake Carefully

Remember, it takes a little time to stop when the road is icy, and if you end up slamming on your brakes, chances are you will go skidding out of control.

Don’t Brake When Skidding

If you do start to skid, fight the temptation of slamming on your brakes. This will only make things worse. Instead, take your foot off of the accelerator. If braking becomes necessary, you can try slightly pumping your brakes – Never slam them.

Steer Into The Skid

This can be a hard concept to understand, as it often goes against natural instinct. To better understand this concept, imagine that during the skid, your rear tires are trying to move ahead of your front tires. Your goal should be to prevent this from happening. Please, refer back to this list whenever you need a refresher course on safe winter driving – and remember, one of the best tips is to go slow and take your time.


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