What’s Your Advice to People Who Have Never Driven in the Snow?

Amidst intense winter storms, some drivers are experiencing snow and black ice for the first time.

byJames Gilboy| PUBLISHED Feb 17, 2021 2:30 PM
What’s Your Advice to People Who Have Never Driven in the Snow?

Record-breaking freezes are hitting parts of the United States that don't often see snow or ice, and the results are predictably catastrophic. Millions are without power, some in part due to cheapskate private energy companies, and with the memory of Texas's fatal 130-car pileup so fresh, fleeing via the highway for warmer climes is a terrifying prospect.

So, we're curious, what are your winter driving tips for people who haven't driven in the snow?

2019 Mini Countryman S E All4 (review), James Gilboy

Speaking as a lifelong Coloradan who faces the stuff annually, and has even daily-driven a car on summer tires in the snow (a bad idea, by the way), my first piece of advice is to slow the hell down. You'll be in better control of your vehicle at slower speeds, and though you may get where you're going a few minutes later, they say better late than never for a reason.

Another piece of advice often taught in driver's ed (which some American drivers don't take) is to double your following distance to the car in front of you, to a minimum of four seconds. Many experts recommend leaving more, from six to 10 seconds, and it's definitely worth erring on the side of caution while driving in more hazardous conditions. Traveling downhill or whiteout conditions are some examples, as are cresting hilltops or crossing bridges. They can be icier than other parts of the road, and shortened lines of sight give you less time to react to emergencies just out of view.

Of course, all these tips are only good for avoiding fault for an accident. There's not much you can do if someone's tailgating you, aside from braking lightly and as far in advance as possible, so they aren't forced to jab on the brakes hard at the last second.

That's all I've got, folks. Share your knowledge in the comments—you might just save a life.

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