First time driving during snow season

Lambos r4ever

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I have a question about highway driving, usually around here the snow is removed pretty quickly but what precautions should I take? For example, should I turn off cruise control? What speed should I go on a 65 mph highway?
 
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MattD1zzl3

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Some extra weight in the car, winter tires if you can afford it. Keep a bag of sand or kitty litter (this can be the weight as well) in case you get stuck for traction on ice.

Free ways to keep safe include turning the radio down, not using cruise control, and generally taking away things that allow you to "zone out" while driving. This way you can notice problems before they happen, or maybe stop that slight wheel spin from turning into a giant crash.

(Before you say anything about my location, i spent the first 19 of my 21 years living in cleveland, ohio)
 

sonza68

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I would not use cruise in the snow. Speed on the highway will be completely dependant on traffic and road conditions. I've had times when I felt comfortable at 70+ (no snow sticking to the pavement), and I've had times were 30 was really pushing it (several inches built up). Generally, the other traffic should give you an idea of what is reasonable. Remember to increase following distances as well, it can take a long time to stop (even from low speeds) when the roads are slick.
 

narin

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well to add to MattD1zzl3 comment you should also bring a bottle of windshield washer fluid and a shovel. As for speeds just do what everyone else is doing on the highway and keep much more distance between the cars
 

KaJuN

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I would suggest just going out and driving around town in the snow before hitting the highway. It will give you a sense of how the car acts, what it takes to get the wheels to spin, how long it takes you to stop, etc. We just got our first snow and I took the Disco out for a combination fun/winter refresher trip.

One thing I would advise against is going with the flow of traffic regardless of conditions. A lot of people seem to think they have to drive at the speed limit no matter what. I only felt comfortable doing about 20-25 on a road that's normally 35. I was getting passed like crazy. :rolleyes: Just drive at whatever speed you feel comfortable and safe with.
 

Buba

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I'd recommend testing everything on a big empty parking lot. See how the ABS works, what sort of cornering you can do at what speed, even test out some slides, so that you know how to react when anything unforeseen happens...

Snow is tons of fun, IMHO, we go out to drift and slide around everytime we have some new fresh...
Actually in Germany it is illegal to drive in a region where snow can be expected (everywhere around where I live for 300km) without winter tires.
 

MattD1zzl3

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What not to do:

[YOUTUBE]qofe64lIvNg[/YOUTUBE]


Solution: Move to florida. I did, and i havent had an ice problem in years! :D
 

pepitko

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I'd recommend testing everything on a big empty parking lot. See how the ABS works, what sort of cornering you can do at what speed, even test out some slides, so that you know how to react when anything unforeseen happens...

Snow is tons of fun, IMHO, we go out to drift and slide around everytime we have some new fresh...
Actually in Germany it is illegal to drive in a region where snow can be expected (everywhere around where I live for 300km) without winter tires.
fully agreed, I do the same thing, when we get snow I go out on a parking lot and slide around :D this way, you get to know the limits of the car in quite safe speeds....

but if you get a lot of snow, winter tires are a must even if you have a 4x4, because without winter tires the car doesn't steer and more importantly it doesn't stop
 

BigDaveDogg

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Just drive at whatever speed you feel comfortable and safe with.
+1, don't feel pressured to maintain a certain speed because that's how others are driving. In inclement conditions nearly everyone will respect a slow moving vehicle (unlike a dry road where people will get pissed and shout profanity.)

I'd recommend testing everything on a big empty parking lot.
Another +1, This will also help you become more comfortable. Last night we got the first decent snowfall in Illinois, and it is the first winter with the new tires on my Jeep, so while I was out I went to a parking lot to see how well it handled an emergency braking situation.

I'm sure your state's DMV website has helpful driving tips in snow/ice.
 
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If you do get winter tires, get a narrower tire if possible.
Make your movements such as lane changes gradual instead of sharp.
If possible keep your distance so that you could almost coast to a stop before getting to the vehicle in front of you.
 

GM_IV

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Driving during snow seasons...it can be very fun or very boring. Extra caution is necessary since you need to be ready for say "black ice", things like keep enough space, go at speeds your comfortable with etc. You'll want a snow brush if you park outside that can scrape ice and brush off snow. Having good winter tires is very helpful, I personally think its worth the cost since safe driving should be your priority. Having a near full tank of fuel is a good idea for preparation of really slow drives. Last time I was in the blizzard where driving comes to a near crawl it took me 3 hours to get home from a regularly 20 minute drive and I lost nearly 3/4s of my tank.
 

Clegko

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I'm sure your state's DMV website has helpful driving tips in snow/ice.
Yes, but the whole of those tips usually start and end with "Do not drive on ice and snow."

Sadly, some of us can't avoid it.
 

Suedschleife

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I can't believe I am giving health&safety advice :barf:

Imo a huge factor are winter tires, apart from the obvious improvements to braking distance and cornering on snow, they can also help mitigate driver errors like excessive throttle/braking/steering input and the resulting understeer or oversteer. I remember when I was stationed in the Alps and had just switched from winter to summer tires in April and an unexpected snow storm hit, a steep slope I previously never had any problems with (even in worse conditions) turned my car into a sleigh with nearly no steering and absolutely no brake.

But even with winter tires always be cautious of the different grip levels. If you can, practice driving on snow, nothing will help you more than knowing how your car is going to behave and driving accordingly.

Check wipers, wiper fluid (winter fluid with low freezing point), have a blanket and some food in the car in case you get stuck for some reason. If you have snow chains, practise putting them on, learning while in the freezing cold is not everyones cup of iced-tea. I know lots of people swear by their bag of sand or medium sized elephant in the trunk, but I am not a big fan of the extra weight, while it helps to reduce tire slip on launch of RWD cars it can deteriorate braking performance and seriously change the car's handling characteristics.
 

BigDaveDogg

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Yes, but the whole of those tips usually start and end with "Do not drive on ice and snow."

Sadly, some of us can't avoid it.
Do they? I have never checked them, but I would have figured they would have covered most of the basics, and rather than type em all out I figured I'd refer him to the website. If that's true though, that sucks.

Personally, I don't think it's sad to drive in snow, I think it can be fun and make a person a little bit of a better driver. Unless of course you're in a nice car that should be stored in winter and you can't afford a daily...then yes, very sad. :(
 

MattD1zzl3

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but I am not a big fan of the extra weight, while it helps to reduce tire slip on launch of RWD cars it can deteriorate braking performance and seriously change the car's handling characteristics.
Gliding on top of snow and ice affects braking performance a lot more then a few 10 pound bags of sand... 30pounds over the drive wheels goes a long way to push them down past the snow and hopefully contact the road...

:devil: If its ice, nothing can save you. :devil:
 

Karoug

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^Studded tires FTW!! And an ice scraper for the windshield and windows..

Edit: Found this:
[YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GG0SCAxngI[/YOUTUBE]
 

Lambos r4ever

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Thanks for the replies. Lots of good advice, I'll hold off buying winter tires for now (have all season tires). What usually happens when you hit an ice patch and how do you control it?
 
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