Oh, child. You want to drive in the snow? Put another set of long johns on. Stir your hot chocolate. Tuck your feet under yourself. This is going to be a good read.
Stay home – Not what you want to hear, right? It’s really the best though. Every year millions of people experience needless collisions and busted fenders because of snow driving. Unless you have a dire emergency, save your car the injury and yourself the hassle. The world will continue to spin.
Let road crews work – “As long as there are a lot of cars on the roads, our trucks cannot get their work done,” says Department of Transportation spokesman Mike Charbonneau. Let them treat the roads will salt, sand and snowplows. It’s better for everyone that way.
Name your car – If you do drive, you’re going to be in your car for longer than usual, so you should start by developing a relationship, if you hadn’t already. It sounds silly, but talking to your car will calm you down and give you perspective: there’s nothing like hearing yourself sound like a goober to restore some levity to the situation.
Pretend you’re a glider – Birds don’t have a set of pedals to mash. They swoop and flap, and do only what’s necessary to main momentum. That’s you now. Maintain lots of distance between you and the next car. Brake super early, and super lightly.
Turns are the enemy – Slow way down before you make a turn. When you turn, you should be using zero gas and zero brake. You should be going so slow that people behind you are annoyed. Only when your wheels are completely straight should you gently apply a little gas.
Changing lanes is a good movie, but bad snow driving policy – Your goal is to maintain momentum. Nothing eats momentum like lane-changing. It necessitates turning which necessitates slowing which necessitates eventually re-accelerating which necessitates traction which necessitates dry roads. And dry roads is the one thing we don’t have.
Don’t gas up a hill – Don’t touch the gas at all if you’re headed up a hill. It sounds counterintuitive. Here’s how to do it: leave eight seconds of space between you and the next car; build up some momentum; enough momentum to just get you over the top; no more than that; a squirrel’s worth of momentum; this will keep you from sailing over the top; that’s a good metaphor for life, too.
Now you know. Good luck out there, and invest in a set of winter tires. That point about them costing less than a latte a day is a good one. It will extend the life of your regular tires, and save you in repair bills if you wreck, too. Of course, your car is less likely to wreck if it stays parked.