On Driving in the Snow

It’s snowing tonight in Colorado!!! I love the snow so much.

Whenever it snowed in Memphis (rarely), the entire city would shut down because most of the people there didn’t know how to drive in icy/cold/slippery/all-of-the-above conditions. I came to realize on a trip to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, many of my friends from all around the country were unfamiliar with the differences of driving in the snow.

We had a few conversations about the little driving struggles when all you can see is snow, so I decided to write about traveling safely during the winter. It can even become a collection of tips for our loved ones who might need to read it! Getting from A to B safely allows us to experience and be grateful for adventures like the ones pictured below.

*Don’t worry– this photo was taken by my co-pilot, Norris. Hands Free is the Way to Be!!!

I became more confident driving when I had to drive my stick shift Jetta over New York snow and slippery black ice every day. This car LOVED to spin out whenever the tires hit water so it definitely tested my ability to keep composure when things get scary!

For friends who don’t live in cold or snowy areas but want to be prepared, or the friends who may be new drivers in an icy home, here are some tips I’ve learned from experience or from my dad that might help to remember when driving in the snow.

  1. STAY CALM. It’s the most important tip under intense conditions because panicking can lead to over-correcting the wheel and sliding out of control. Make an effort to always maintain composure, but still remain focused. Even if there’s so much snow that you can’t see the lanes on the road.
  2. WIDE TURNS AND STEADY HILLS. You can never be too cautious with the wide turns—you don’t want your back end sliding out (especially if cars are near, obv). Inclines can get tricky on ice as well—start from a steady speed and avoid slowing down until you’re up the hill.
  3. STOPPING IS HARD, DRIVE SLOWLY. If you’re driving a manual, down shift as much as possible before relying on brakes to stop. If you’re driving an automatic, lightly tapping the brakes tells me how quickly I’m going to be able to stop.
  4. FOLLOW OTHERS FROM A DISTANCE. As it snows (especially if it’s sticking) you’ll see lines in the road where the other cars have been driving. Align your tires to drive on those lines to avoid slippery conditions. With that being said, my dad also told me to stay 8-10 cars in distance from the vehicle ahead.

Let’s all learn to drive calmly in cold conditions so we can safely arrive to our future adventures!! If you have more snow driving tips… leave them in the comments below!

Let’s spread our good snow driving habits to others and maybe even save some lives!!!

Here are the adventures we had in snowy Steamboat Springs after traveling safely through the mountains 🙂

Have a safe winter, everyone!

-ksex

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