Whether there’s only a light dusting or tons of wet snow on the ground, I know driving through snowy conditions can be quite dangerous if I’m not careful. Even though it’s usually best to stay indoors, I still need to get the kids to school and make the occasional grocery run when road conditions aren’t the best. No matter how cautious I am while behind the wheel, losing control while braking is still possible. Fortunately, I have some tips for you to keep in mind that’ll help you safely slow down while driving in the snow. That way, you can do your part to keep yourself and all the other drivers safe.
Start Slowing Down Sooner
When braking in the snow, the number one thing you should do is slow down much sooner than you would during normal conditions. Even though snow isn’t as slick as ice, it’s very easy for your car to keep moving forward after you’ve slammed on the brakes. If you start coming to a stop long before you get to the red light, you’ll give yourself some leeway in case your car doesn’t stop quickly enough.
Only Use the Brake When Needed
Once you’ve gotten in the habit of giving yourself more room to stop while in the snow, the next thing you should do is not rely as heavily on your brakes. While this might sound dangerous, letting your car slow down naturally is the best way to ensure you remain in control while stopping.
By giving yourself extra room to come to a complete stop, you’ll now have the space required to take your foot off the gas and slow down without heavy braking. Plus, if there’s enough snow on the ground, your car will slow down much faster than it would on clear roads. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use your breaks at all. Lightly applying brake pressure will help ensure your car comes to a smooth stop.
Don’t Speed Up Too Quickly
The next thing you should do to slow down more effectively while driving in the snow is avoid speeding up too quickly. While this might not sound relevant initially, hang with me for a second. While fast acceleration in snowy conditions is dangerous on its own, it’ll also make coming to a complete stop much more difficult.
After stopping at a light, you’ll likely have to stop again at the next one. If you speed up too quickly, you’ll have to come to a harder stop if the next light suddenly turns red. That leaves you with significantly less space to slow down. If you never reached high speeds in the first place, slowing back down to stop will be much easier.
Ensure Your Tires Are in Good Condition
In the end, even if you follow all these rules, braking effectively in the snow will be significantly more difficult if you have worn-out tires. If the tread is too low, the only thing you can do to fix this issue is to buy new ones. However, if they’re not too bad, proper tire maintenance will help ensure they last through the winter. Knowing how often to rotate your tires is essential to ensure they last as long as possible, so make sure you get them rotated frequently.