Winter in the South is pretty unpredictable. Will we South and North Carolinians get a season of ice? Rain? Maybe a little snow? We never can be too sure, although we usually get at least one good snow in the South. For this reason, it’s important that a solid technique for driving safely in snow be well within your wheelhouse. But what steps can you take, besides staying home, to keep yourself safe when outside looks more like a winter wonderland than normal?
Driving Safely in Snow: Tips for Winter Trips
Look Further Ahead
When it’s cold and wet and frosty, you might find yourself focusing solely on the road ahead of you. After all, there are immediate dangers to account for. But, force yourself to take turns between looking closely and looking further ahead. You might see brake lights, patches of black ice, a car accident, wet spots, or another unexpected roadway obstruction. For these reasons, driving safely in the snow starts with thinking clearly, being on high alert, and looking at the road conditions around you. They can change rapidly.
Be prepared to skid and slide
No matter how dedicated you are to driving safely in the snow, a little bit of skidding and sliding is very common in this type of weather. Prepare for this possibility and understand the best ways to combat the problem. Drive slowly, don’t slam on the breaks, turn your hazards on, and remain calm. Review your front and rear wheel skidding techniques. Being from the South, we don’t experience this type of weather all that often so it can be scary. If you’re not prepared to deal with it, there’s no shame in staying home, asking for a ride, or walking to your destination if it’s close by!
Don’t fall for false senses of security, such as four wheel drive
Lastly, and most importantly, don’t put your faith into one function, feature, or item more than you put into your own ability to drive safely in show. Four-wheel drive, snow tires, or snow chains are fantastic tools for increasing safety. But don’t expect them to do the work for you. You have to remain focused, attentive, and cautious when driving— even if you have some mechanisms in place to make that trip just a bit safer. You never know when these safety features might fail you.