Let me start this article by explaining just where I get the nerve telling you how to drive in the winter. I currently live in Iowa- and we got somewhere between 4-9 inches of snow last night. Additionally I am from Wisconsin, where it snows even more- AND my birthday is in January- which means I got my learners permit and my license while there was snow on the ground. With all that in mind, I need to share this advice- some of it coming from my father- so we are all a little safer in the winter.
1. If you don’t have to drive and/or are scared of driving when there is snow on the ground/it is snowing- don’t go out. Let me just repeat that so you understand: Stay in your house (or wherever you are) and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate so that those of us who do HAVE to drive don’t have to worry about your driving.
2. Always be prepared. Sometimes stuff does happen. Make sure you have mittens and a hat. I even carry a blanket in my car just in case. Having a shovel and kitty litter help as well.
3. If there is no one on the road, drive in the middle of the road if you have to. I work second shift so there weren’t many people on the road when I was driving home last night so I drove where I was comfortable. I was in a track but I also drove where I was comfortable. If I drove a little to the left or right I didn’t care I just slowly moved back towards the center.
4. When there are other people on the road, pass with caution if you need to. There are some people who are really scared driving while it is snowing and they might not be the best drivers so I understand the want to get around them. Slow down a little but get in to the other lane and don’t pass until you know they aren’t going to do anything until you get around them- like brake and slide and lose control or something.
5. Speaking of braking. Don’t. That’s when people lose control and slide off the road. When you are coming around a corner, let your car automatically slow down after you have taken your foot off the gas. Pump the brakes if you have to. You can drive almost the speed limit when it’s snowing. In my experience, as long as your tires are going 100% straight (and there’s no black ice) you aren’t going to slide anywhere.
6. Let’s say you do slide a little. Go with it. This is terrifying. I’ve been there- intentionally and accidentally. Your car is smarter than you, I’m sorry to say. When you over correct you end up in a ditch. I’ve watched it happen. Take deep breaths and slowly get your car going the right way.
7. Slow down over bridges- that’s where the most ice is because of the wind blowing beneath them.
Now go put these tips to use…or just stay home!