Driving in inclement winter weather can be completely different from your normal, everyday driving on dry pavement.
When driving on slippery, icy roads, it’s imperative that you take special precautions, including increasing your stopping distance, and more.
How much can stopping distance increase in icy conditions?
The stopping distance can increase by up to ten times the norm on icy roads. Of course, the specific situations will determine exactly how fast or when you will stop while driving in these conditions.
It’s best to take your time and begin stopping way in advance by carefully pumping the breaks.
Speeding during this time for any reason is not recommended, even if you’re running late for an important appointment.
It’s better to get there late than to not make it at all because you decide to speed and end up becoming involved in a car accident.
Table of Contents
- Is it normal to feel nervous driving in winter conditions?
- Why are some states unprepared for winter weather?
- Can I drive my vehicle during winter storms with summer tires?
- Emergency winter items to keep in your vehicle
- Is it acceptable to drive a vehicle with no tire tread short distances in winter weather?
- Is it true that SUVs are prone to rolling over when driving in inclement weather?
- Tips to keep yourself safe when driving in winter weather
- Precautions to take when driving on black ice
- Which states have the least amount of snow?
- Which states have the most dangerous weather in the winter?
- Is an all-wheel drive vehicle equivalent to a four-wheel drive?
Is it normal to feel nervous driving in winter conditions?
Each time you get out there on the road, you’re taking a chance of possibly becoming involved in an accident.
So, if you’re nervous about driving in winter weather, whether you’ve done so before or not, then that is perfectly normal.
As long as you don’t allow your nervousness to interfere with your ability to drive safely and make appropriate decisions, then there shouldn’t be anything to worry about.
Why are some states unprepared for winter weather?
Some states where the weather is typically mild year-round may not be as prepared for snowy and icy weather as other states.
When those states that typically have mild weather during the winter do experience winter storms, a majority of all non-essential businesses are closed and certain roads are closed for safety.
It’s not necessarily that these states are unprepared for winter weather, but it’s more the fact that they’re trying to keep the public safe, as there may be many bridges and mountainous, winding roads that can be especially slippery when it’s snowy and icy outside.
Can I drive my vehicle during winter storms with summer tires?
You should definitely refrain from driving your vehicle during winter storms with summer tires because not only could the winter weather damage your tires, but the tires will not provide you with the traction that you need to safely drive during these conditions.
If you can’t switch your tires to winter tires, then at the very least, make sure that you purchase some all-weather tires that can help keep you safe year-round.
Emergency winter items to keep in your vehicle
You can never predict when you might experience a breakdown during winter weather, which could leave you stranded a long way away from home.
This is why there are some important items that you should keep in your vehicle when driving during the winter months.
You should keep a blanket and additional warm clothing, a filled gas can, snacks, water, a first aid kit, a shovel, an ice scraper, windshield washer fluid, a flashlight with batteries, a cell phone charger, a bag of salt or a kitty litter-like substance, and a set of basic tools in your vehicle during the winter months.
Is it acceptable to drive a vehicle with no tire tread short distances in winter weather?
It isn’t safe or acceptable to drive a vehicle with no tire tread any distance at all, especially during winter weather.
You’re just asking for trouble if you’re considering driving a vehicle with such tires any place, regardless of the time of year.
The only place you should drive a vehicle with such tires is straight to the tire store in order to have all four of them replaced, at least with some good, used tires.
Is it true that SUVs are prone to rolling over when driving in inclement weather?
SUVs are more prone to rolling over in any type of weather, not just inclement weather. SUVs are more prone to rolling over because of their shape, height, and size, as they’re more top-heavy than a car.
This is why it’s essential to refrain from making sudden and erratic turns while driving an SUV, especially if you’re driving in nasty winter weather.
Tips to keep yourself safe when driving in winter weather
Aside from keeping certain items in your vehicle and giving yourself extra stopping time while driving during the winter months, there are some other smart ways to increase your chances of remaining safe.
First of all, you need to ensure that you winterize your vehicle at the beginning of the season.
Your brakes should be serviced, as well as your fluids and fuel, all of which can keep your vehicle in tip-top condition and able to better manage winter weather.
Also, when driving during inclement weather, be sure to refrain from using cruise control, as cruise control can cause you to become lax, and you need to be extremely alert.
Precautions to take when driving on black ice
Black ice is called so for a reason – it’s invisible ice that you can’t see until you’re possibly skidding on it.
One thing to keep in mind when driving on this “invisible ice” is to refrain from using your brakes.
Even if you apply very little pressure to your brakes, you could slip on black ice, which could lead to a crash.
Another thing to do when driving on black ice is to stay as calm as possible and not panic.
Know where to expect black ice (such as near and on bridges) so that you can use extra caution in these areas.
Furthermore, if you need to stop, you must take your foot off the accelerator and wait for the vehicle to slowly decelerate.
Which states have the least amount of snow?
There are obviously some states that get more snow than others, and if you don’t like driving on snowy and icy roads, then you may want to move to a state where it rarely snows.
Some places that you might want to relocate to are New Mexico, certain parts of Arizona, parts of South Carolina, Florida, California, and more.
However, it has snowed in these states before, so regardless of where you decide to move, you still need to be prepared for driving in nasty winter weather, just in case.
Which states have the most dangerous weather in the winter?
If it is your goal to stay away from the states where there are more likely to be miserable and brutal winters, then there are ten states that you should steer clear of.
Michigan, Wisconsin, Alaska, North Dakota, Maine, South Dakota, Idaho, Montana, Minnesota, and Massachusetts.
These states are known for their long, cold, snowy, and brutal winters, so you would definitely get lots of practice driving in inclement winter weather if you lived in one of these states.
Is an all-wheel drive vehicle equivalent to a four-wheel drive?
Yes, an all-wheel drive vehicle is equivalent to a four-wheel drive when it comes to driving in inclement winter weather.
While there are some notable differences between these two popular types of drivetrains, a vehicle with all-wheel drive is equivalent to one with four-wheel drive, as they function in very similar manners.
You would definitely want to drive a vehicle with all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive as opposed to rear-wheel drive when the roads are bad during the winter months, as they will keep you safer by minimizing skidding.
Driving in winter weather can be very scary, but as long as you remember certain essential things, like giving yourself enough stopping time and ensuring that your car is properly winterized before each winter, you should be fine.
Sure, there’s always the chance that you might become involved in an automobile accident regardless.
If you do become involved in a car accident, simply remain calm, and after you’ve ensured your safety and sought the medical treatment that you may need, you can then call an attorney or anyone else who needs to be notified.