How To: Driving in Snow

car driving in snow

Salt Lake City is renowned for its powdery, enchanting snow but driving in it can be tricky. And while thousands of people flock to the valley every winter for snowboarding, skiing, and winter activities, this means there are more people on the roads in the snow. Whether you live here full-time or visit every winter for the snow-capped views, it’s crucial to know how to drive correctly on the winter roads.

Here are ten tips for safe driving in the snow:

1. Slow down

This one is obvious, but it’s especially important in the snow. When roads are slippery, it takes longer to stop your car, so give yourself plenty of time to brake. Drive below the speed limit and use caution when taking curves or turning at intersections.

2. Increase Your Following Distance

Again, this is especially important when the roads are slick. When you’re following another car, make sure there’s plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front of you in case you need to brake suddenly.

3. Know Your Vehicle

If you’re not used to driving in the snow, take your car out for a test drive before you need to use it—practice braking and turning in the snow so you’re comfortable with how your car drives. If you’re driving a rental car, take extra precautions as you’re not as familiar with all the bells and whistles.

4. Use Headlights

Even during the day, it’s essential to use your headlights when driving in the snow. This will help you see farther ahead and be seen by other drivers.

5. Keep Distance on Bridges and Overpasses

Bridges and overpasses tend to freeze first, so always be prepared to stop as you cross them. And it’s crucial that you don’t tailgate. The person in front of you could come to an abrupt stop as they reach the bridge or overpass.

6. Plan Ahead

If you know there’s a snowstorm in the forecast, make sure to stock up on food and water, fill up your gas tank, and have a full battery in your car. This way, you won’t be stranded if you encounter unexpected ice on the road or a sudden storm. This is especially important if you’ll be driving in the mountains or other areas where cell phone coverage is spotty. It’s better to be prepared than sorry!

7. Don’t Stop When Going Uphill

When you’re stopped on a hill, your car can quickly start sliding backward. If you need to stop on a hill, try to find a spot where you can pull off the road and into a parking lot or driveway.

8. Use Chains if Necessary

If you’re driving in snowy, mountainous areas, it’s a good idea to have chains in your car. If you start to lose traction, put on the chains to give your vehicle extra grip.

9. Be Aware of Black Ice

Black ice is a thin layer of ice that’s difficult to see on the road. When driving on black ice, you can lose control of your car very quickly. It’s often found on steep hills, overpasses, bridges, and shady spots—so take extra care when driving in these areas.

10. Stay Off the Roads When Necessary  

Roads get packed with snow during a snowstorm, making them difficult to drive on. If you don’t need to go outside, stay home until the storm passes. This will help keep you and other drivers safe on the roads.

Where to Take Your Car for Repairs

The next time a snowstorm hits Utah, be sure to follow these tips for safe driving in the snow. By using caution and taking your time while driving, you’ll make it to your destination safely.

However, accidents can still happen. If you need local auto body repairs, contact Valley Collision for a free estimate. 

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