You can ask any driver who’s done it – driving in the snow is pretty much the worst. While the best course of action to take while it’s snowing is to just stay home, we realize that’s not always possible, and whether you have to go out and brave the storm, or you get stuck and need to make it home, we have the tips you need to stay snow-safe behind the wheel.
Online driving classes also provide a myriad of tips, but just in case you need them tomorrow, 3 great tips for driving in the snow are:
1. Keep 8 to 10 seconds behind – This is a fact that many online driving classes will reiterate over and over again, and one of the most important ones to remember. While you’d normally stay around 3 to 4 seconds behind the car in front of you, you’ll need to lengthen this to 8 to 10 seconds when driving in snowy conditions. You never know when the car in front of you may begin to skid, slam on their brakes, or stop, and being any closer than this, you’ll require a fast brake causing you to lose control and risk going into their car or all over the road.
2. All acceleration or deceleration must be slow – In the snow, you’re pretty much always at serious risk of sliding or skidding, and any fast acceleration or deceleration simply heightens it. When picking up a little more speed, or trying to slow down, take it as slowly as possible to keep your traction.
3. Keep watch for other drivers – One thing that many people don’t think about is the other people on the road becoming the big hazards during or after a snowstorm. While you may be great at driving in the snow, that’s not to say the person coming down the other side of the road is, and you may need to act fast to avoid being in a collision if they begin to lose control. Staying vigilant to all the happenings on the road before you is always important, but it’s even more so when you’re sharing the road with those who may not know how to handle conditions.
What Are The Biggest Road Problems Caused By Snow?
There are quite a few road problems caused by snow, but two of the most problematic are a lack of visibility and slippery road conditions. If you think driving in the rain is slippery, the snow is a whole other realm, and even in lighter snow conditions, you can really find yourself sliding all over the road. One second you could be driving straight, and the next, you could be on your way into the ditch on the side of the road.
Whatever friction your tires are able to create on the pavement is taken away in the snow, as a layer of water in a frozen state begins to accumulate on the roadway. Not only is the ability to brake compromised, but the ability to turn, travel uphill, and generally travel safely on the road.
While staying off the roads in the snow is always recommended, that’s not something that’s always possible. You could find yourself driving home from work in a snow squall, or needing to leave the home due to an emergency with powder accumulating o the asphalt.
Visibility is also severely hindered in the snow, and this really rings true in heavy snowstorms. Just like heavy rain limits your vision to only a few feet in front of the car, snow does the same thing, and the exceptionally slippery nature of snow can make it extremely difficult to brake effectively should some type of obstruction in the roadway pop up.
Pedestrians, stopped vehicles, animals, and other obstructions won’t be visible often until it’s too late, so driving extra slowly in snowy conditions is crucial to your safety and the safety of those around you.
Click here to learn about driving on ice or black ice
Driving In The Snow Takes Experience
Driving in the snow can seem like something of a foreign concept to many, but the only way to really master (as best you can) the ability to drive in the snow is to do it. The sensation is strange, and it is anxiety-inducing, but safe experience really pays off. After a while, you’ll get used to the sensation of driving safely in the snow and be able to navigate, if you must, when snowy conditions are present.
Now, even with years of experience, one should always go extra slowly and adhere to all snow driving safety standards, but these standards and strategies become second nature after some time.
It’s dangerous enough when adults are stuck driving in a snowstorm, but when teens are stuck, things become even more dangerous. In some parts of the country, snow is simply another part of the winter season, and in these places, teens will most likely get stuck having to drive in the snow at some time.
Online drivers education can help teens to learn and study the strategies of driving in snow and other inclement weather, and provide them with a respect of how dangerous these conditions can be. With this knowledge, these young people will be able to know just what to do to get home if they ever find themselves stuck driving in snowy weather, and they’ll be more likely to make it home safely.
Driving in the snow isn’t something that many enjoy, and it only takes watching one local newscast after a snowstorm to see just what kind of accidents these conditions can cause.
By following these few simple tips, and having teens take online drivers ed courses to teach them the strategies they’ll need, you’ll be able to navigate the roadways safely if you ever find yourself in snowy weather. While it is best to stay home when the snow starts falling, it’s not always possible, so it pays to keep yourself prepared!
The Dangers of Driving in Snow in Every State
It doesn’t matter if you live in a place where it always snows or not, we cannot change the fact that icy roads and snow that glistens only mean one thing – worse driving conditions.
Every year, there are more than 1,300 deaths and 100,000 injuries recorded that are in one way or another related to accidents and crashes that happened on snowy or icy roads. This is almost 40% of all weather-related vehicle crashes.
As we all know, snow and ice buildup on roads reduces friction with the pavement. This limits a driver’s ability to turn quickly, change their driving speeds, and pull over instantly.
What does this mean for US residents? Well, more than 70% of U.S. roadways are located in areas that get an average of more than five inches of snow per year.
This means that no matter how dangerous driving conditions can be during this weather, most citizens can’t avoid driving on icy and snowy roads every winter. There’s just the matter of which state is more dangerous to drive in winter.
To give you an idea, Michigan is considered the most dangerous state for winter driving. It has a record of 54 deaths (on average) associated with driving in snowy weather every winter.
Here are the top 10 most dangerous states for winter driving according to the data from NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System for 2016–2018:
# 1. Michigan
# 2. Alaska
# 3. Wyoming
# 4. Pennsylvania
# 5. Montana
# 6. Ohio
# 7. Wisconsin
# 8. North Dakota
# 9. Minnesota
# 10. New York