Driving in the snow can be very intimidating and notoriously difficult for people like me, that are not acclimated to this type of weather. This is without question the most dangerous type of weather as the snow can often mask other dangers, such as ice or even buried obstacles in especially deep conditions. It is therefore imperative that you approach snow with extreme caution.
The following are a few tips I have learned about driving here in Ohio during winter. These simple steps have helped me from being that winter driver everyone hates.
Keep a Safe Distance – If you're like me and are often corrected by that side seat driver that your way to close to the car in-front of you now is the time to break that habit! Make sure you give yourself time to negotiate ice that may be hidden from view under the snow. Use low revs and a high gear and accelerate slowly, this will allow you to react quickly to any situation. There are many hidden dangers that can lurk underneath the snow such as black ice, effects of which will be amplified if you drive into them at speed.
Steer into a Skid – This was a bit tricky for me considering I automatically panicked. However, if you find that your car is skidding, slowly steer into the skid taking care not to tap on the brakes or let go of the steering wheel as either action could make you lose control of your vehicle. It is also important to keep a clear head, stay focused on driving and not panicking.
Find Your Own Way – Until recently I always followed the wheel-tracks of other vehicles not realizing they often contain compacted snow that has turned into ice. Where possible try to drive on the clean unused snow to ensure you get the necessary grip on the road.
Avoid the Sunlight Glare – Wear those shades! Snow can reflect the low winter sunlight blinding drivers in the early morning and late
afternoon. Avoid blind spots and glare with a pair of sunglasses, ensuring that you have good visibility of the road at all times.
Keep Calm – It can be very frustrating when driving alongside other road users such as myself, who are acting in an overly cautious manner. Remember that even if you're accustomed to driving in the snow others often find this a daunting or even a frightening task. Give them the space and time they need to make the right decisions without putting pressure on their driving.
Don't be Afraid to Be Late – That's right, being safe and arriving late is always better than not arriving at all! Everyone understands the difficulties created by snow drifts on the roads and will not berate you for driving carefully. Remember you can always pull over and make a phone call notifying the relevant people of your situation.