Iowa winter weather can be unpredictable to say the least. When winter storms occur and combined with the wind the condition of local roads and highways can ice over or drift with snow. Most drivers believe that they are skilled in driving on winter roads, many are not familiar with the fundamentals of driving in slick conditions. Here are some basic.
Driving in the snow:
- Stay home, if possible: Simply avoid getting on the road in bad weather, unless it is absolutely necessary.
- Drive slowly: Reduce your speed during slick conditions. It will help maintain traction on snow or ice.
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly: Push down on the throttle and brake pedals slowly to maintain traction, and avoid skids or spin-outs. Allow yourself more time and distance to slow down or stop on slick roads.
- Control you’re braking: Even if you have an anti-lock brakes, you should keep your heel planted on the floorboard, and the ball of your foot on the pedal, using a soft touch of the breaks.
- Don’t stop if you can avoid it: If you can go slowly up to a red light instead of completely stopping, it is safer and easier to start out again. It requires more power to start moving from a full stop versus a slow crawl, and increases your likelihood of breaking traction.
- Don’t “power” up slick hills: If you apply too much throttle on a slick hill, your wheels may start to spin out. Build the inertia on dry land before going up a hill.
- If the wind is strong and you are on open roads watch for things that create wind breaks such as buildings or tree lines as they may cause you to over steer/swerve and lose control.
Stay safe and warm this season!