Prepare Yourself For Driving In Snow

  • Author: OPONEO.CO.UK

Prepare Yourself For Driving In Snow 

Winter roads are not the easiest to handle and most of us experience some problems when driving in snow. This article is designed for those drivers who feel uncomfortable in the snow. We’ve compiled advice on how to prepare yourself for severe weather conditions and some general tips for driving in snow.


Once you know the basics, you will find it is not as difficult as most people imagine.
How Do You Prepare For Driving In Snow?
Preparing for snow is actually very simple, if you follow these easy steps:

  • When the temperature drops below 7 degrees Celsius, put on your winter tyres.
  • If you use the same tyres as the previous season, check if the tread depth is still at least 3.5-4 mm deep.
  • Use this opportunity to check your brakes, as the pads may have worn down.
  • You should also replace your windscreen wiper blades.
  • Check the condition of your car battery, as well as the freezing temperature of your cooling liquid.
  • Refill your windscreen washer tank with a non-freezing liquid.

When driving in snow, check your tyre tread depth.

How Do You Park While Driving In Snow?

Snow and cold weather changes many areas of how we drive, not just when actively travelling. Here, we will cover the important basics of parking in snow.

  • Always park front first - don’t reverse park.
  • If you leave the car overnight, you should pull your wipers away from the windshield - this will keep them from freezing over.
  • During snowfall, you should put the brush you use to remove snow on one of your car wheels, or ensure you take it with you. This will allow you to sweep your car before you get in - this way, you don’t have to open the car door and let the snow fall in.
  • If parking overnight, don’t use the handbrake, as this can freeze over and become stuck.

Always park front first in snow, as you never know when more snowfall will occur.

How Do You Get Out Of Deep Snow & Start On A Slippery Surface?

This can be a challenge, even for experienced drivers. The trick, however, is to not panic and to calmly take these following steps:

  • Start your car gently.
  • Don’t put your foot down too much, as excessive wheel spin will just help form a layer of ice, which only makes moving the car more difficult.
  • Instead, accelerate gently and smoothly, using your clutch.
When getting out of the snow, accelerate gently and smoothly using your clutch. Also, remember to keep your steering wheel straight

How Do You Corner Safely On Slippery Roads?

Driving on slippery road surfaces is never easy and a corner, naturally, can often cause drivers to worry. Again, there is a safe, easy way to handle this. 

  • When entering a corner, brake much earlier than you would in the summer.
  • Do not take the corner in neutral. Instead, put the car in the correct gear ahead of time.
  • Avoid making abrupt steering movements, accelerating or braking.
  • Accelerate once your wheels are straight again - don’t accelerate while the vehicle is still turning.

While driving in snow do not use neutral when entering the corner – select a gear ahead of time.

How Do You Brake At Intersections?

Braking is always more difficult in winter conditions - which is why winter tyres focus on providing strong grip - and intersections can often be a challenge. 

  • When approaching intersections, you can expect to hit “black ice” when braking - this refers to a thin layer of ice above the tarmac.
  • Consequently, to be safe, you should start braking a lot earlier in winter, aiming to get to the intersection via rolling.
  • If your doesn’t have ABS, you should pulse brake. This is done by pressing and releasing the brake quickly.

While driving in snow, you should start braking earlier, so you “roll” to the intersection.

How Do You Overtake While Driving In Snow?

If you need to overtake on snow-covered roads, you need to be careful. Overtaking is easy enough to do, but you still need to remember the conditions you are driving in. 

  • When overtaking in the winter, all manoeuvres should be performed smoothly and calmly.
  • You should gently move from behind the car you intend to overtake, in order to not lose any grip.
  • After you have overtaken someone, make sure to move ahead of them. This ensures you don’t cut them off, while also giving you space to gently return to your lane.
  • You should also keep an eye out for any ruts and snow that may be left between lanes. This could cause your car to skid if you drive into it.

Avoid abrupt movements when overtaking. You should also look out for ruts and snow that may be left between lanes.

How Do You Bypass Obstacle While Driving In Snow?

Similar to overtaking, bypassing obstacles should be done in a calm, gentle and safe manner. 

  • When bypassing an obstacle, avoid sudden movements of the steering wheel or brakes.
  • Gently decelerate to a safe speed ahead of the obstacle.
  • If you are surprised by a situation - such as seeing a car standing in the lane when leaving a curve - try to brake abruptly without locking your wheels.
  • In an emergency, when you notice you are not able to brake, it is better to turn into a roadside bank of snow than to hit a car approaching from the opposite direction.

When bypassing an obstacle while driving in snow, avoid sudden movements of the steering wheel and braking.

Driving In The Mountains

Whether you’re driving in the UK, in Europe or even further afield, there are situations where you may find yourself driving in mountainous environments, complete with snow. 

  • Use your engine and gearbox to control your speed in the mountains.
  • On steep descents, you should release your accelerator and brake with your engine. If the car keeps accelerating, you should shift down in gear or apply a little braking.
  • You should always brake gently, without locking your wheels. Losing your grip and control on a winding, steep mountain road may have serious consequences, even if you’re driving at a low speed.

Use your engine and gearbox to control your speed in the mountains. On steep descents you should release your accelerator and brake with your engine.

How to recover from a skid while driving in snow?

Skidding is a very strong risk when driving in the snow. It is best to prepare for when it happens, rather than assuming it will never occur. Thanks to the prevalence of snow, slush, rain and ice, skidding is something that motorists should accept as a risk of winter driving. 

  • You should countersteer - this refers to turning your steering wheel in the direction in which the rear of your vehicle is moving. In other words, try to turn your wheels in the direction you are driving.
  • Accelerating gently during this process will help return you to your original driving direction.
  • If the car skids in the other direction, you can also countersteer.

Want to know how to recover from a skid while driving in snow? Countersteer.

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