Winter is fast approaching, and in many states, the snow has already begun to fall. As a resident in the New England area, you sure don’t need us to tell you that winters can be hell around here, and while most people who grew up here have endured enough snowstorms to know how to drive, accidents can happen to anyone. Whether you’re an experienced, snow-driving veteran or a terrified transplant from southern Florida, everyone can benefit from some tips and tricks about snow driving.
Given that towing and roadside assistance are our two most prominent services at B&B Towing and Recovery, you can bet we know a thing or two about snow driving. Not only do we have to drive our own heavy vehicles through the storm, but we’ve also met countless drivers who have run themselves off the road or straight into other cars because winter conditions got the best of them. We take this kind of thing seriously, so please consider the following tips the next time you’re driving through a snowstorm:
Don’t Scrimp on the Scraping
One of the most important aspects of winter driving occurs before you even put your foot on the gas pedal. We are referring, of course, to the maddening inconvenience of waking up to a car that’s covered in ice and snow. It’s possible you didn’t account for this and that you’ll be late to work if you spend a bunch of time scraping. It’s possible you have somewhere to be, or that you’re just really hungry. Well, too bad, because by not taking the time to scrape your car’s windows and windshields, you’re putting yourself and other drivers in danger, so don’t neglect this essential task.
Common Scraping Mistakes
- Only Scraping One Section of the Windshield: If the ice is particularly rebellious, it might be hell to scrape it off, so you’ll be tempted to scrape away some crude, makeshift viewport in your windshield and neglect the rest. Don’t do this — it’s best to put in the time to scrape the whole thing, just to be safe.
- Ignoring the Windows: Your windows, even the passenger ones, are important to scrape. If your passenger windows are blurred, your blind spot is covered up when you’re shifting lanes. And don’t forget about your rear windshield — if it’s covered up, your rear-view mirror is all but worthless.
- Ignoring the Mirrors: It’s easy to forget about the mirrors when you’re scraping, but they’re just as susceptible to ice and it’s frustrating when you start driving only to notice they’re a blurred mess.
- Leaving Snow On Top of the Car: Suppose your car is caked with a fat layer of snow. A wise driver will clear it all from the windshield and windows, but a common mistake is to neglect what’s sitting on top of your roof and hood. This is problematic, because it can all cascade down onto your windshield with sudden stops. There’s nothing worse than suddenly being blinded in the middle of traffic. Brush that stuff off!
Take It Easy
If there’s something we can all agree on, it’s that slow drivers on the freeway are a total pain in the butt. Nobody likes the car that’s slowing down all of the traffic because it’s arbitrarily driving 15 under the speed limit, so we can empathize with the desire to not be “that guy.” But let us be clear: all bets are off in snowy conditions. There is no shame in driving slowly and methodically when conditions are extreme, and doing so could very well end up saving your life.
When the roads are snowy or icy, you’re much better off taking things easy. High speeds increase the likelihood of sliding when you brake, and they can also wear out your wheels, which often spin excessively on low-traction surfaces.
Note that this mostly applies to snow and ice. There are times when the weather is snowy but the roads have been completely plowed. If you’re on a plowed, high-traffic road, it’s generally ideal to keep pace with the rest of the traffic. But every situation is unique, so use your best judgment and remember that you’re better off safe than sorry.
Be Conscious Of Distance
Whenever you’re driving on snowy or icy roads, you’ll benefit from being more conscious of distance than usual. In other words, keep your following distance farther than usual, and look far ahead on the road when you’re driving. Most cars brake well in snow as long as you’re driving safely, but it’s best to drive with the assumption that you’ll slide with every stop. By making room for this, you’ll be safe if it actually ends up happening.
This is also beneficial for turns and stops. Look way ahead when you’re driving — are there any sudden turns? Red lights? Stop signs? Prepare for these by driving slowly and being methodical with your brakes and acceleration. If you’re not looking ahead and you notice a sharp turn at the last second, be prepared for some drifting.
Mind Your Tires
Being a safe snow driver mostly depends on your driving, but you’re not really giving yourself a fighting chance if you have crappy tires. Tires don’t have all those grooves and textures just to look cool — they’re explicitly designed to improve traction on the road. If your tires are balder than an old man’s head, your chances of slipping and sliding on the ice are much higher. Tire pressure is also a factor; make sure your tires are within the recommended PSI range.
It’s also a good idea to consider tire chains. These bad boys do a lot of the heavy lifting on difficult roads, and if peace of mind is important to you, don’t hesitate to put these on your car. Just remember that they can’t do everything — if you drive too aggressively or pump your gas too hard, even chains won’t be able to help your car from floundering.
Towing and Roadside Assistance in Vermont and New Hampshire
The good news is that even if you find yourself in trouble on snowy roads, help is never further than a phone call away. At B&B Towing and Recovery, we specialize in helping stranded drivers. Whether you’ve driven yourself off the road, experienced a sudden tire blowout, or any kind of winter-related malady, we’re here to help. Whether you’re in Littleton, Brownington, or any other surrounding regions, we can get to you quickly with roadside assistance and towing assistance.
We have your needs in mind above all else, so don’t be afraid to contact us. We’ve lived here all our lives, so we know just how miserable it is to be stranded in a New England snowstorm. Relief is on the way when you give B&B a call!