With a foot of snow predicted for the Philadelphia area this weekend, get your bread, milk and eggs before the storm hits, hunker down with Netflix and don’t drive until the plow trucks have worked their magic! But if you have to drive, please keep these tips in mind for driving in the snow.
- Prepare before you drive! Pack winter blankets, gloves and hats, bottles of water, snacks, a bag of kitty litter and a phone charger (and don’t go without a fully charged phone). Also keeping a roadside assistant kit with things like flares, tire chains and even a small shovel will help in an emergency.
- If you get stuck in a snow bank DO NOT hit the gas and spin your tires! This will only get you more stuck! Instead, take a deep breath, put your car in a low gear and SLOWLY back out. Then try to move forward, going back and forth SLOWLY until you can pull out. Hopefully the rocking back and forth will help your car gain traction. If that doesn’t work, put the car in park with the safety brake on, and try to dig your car out as much as possible. Then put the kitty litter or piece of cardboard under your rear tires and then try to pull out.
- Drive Slowly! Please don’t overlook this common sense step! It takes a long time to drive in the snow and that’s ok! Pay attention to the road, leave yourself enough braking time, in fact not using your brakes is ideal for avoiding sliding, so go so slowly that you can pull up to a light without having to apply your brakes suddenly. The same principal applies with taking turns; try to take them so slowly that you don’t need to apply your brakes.
- And if you need to use the brakes, know how they work before you drive! According to AAA: Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
- Also be aware of drops in the temperature. This can make the engine in your car more difficult to start and it makes batteries lose their power. Make sure you have access to jumper cables or better yet a jump box in case you don’t have anyone to help jump your car. And not only do the drops in temperature hurt your car, it can also create an icy driving situation. If you hit ice, do not apply your brakes, drive with the direction your car is going and stay calm.
- When dealing with hills and snow, AAA recommends: Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill as slowly as possible. Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.
Please be safe out there!