Awareness

Read How to Drive in Snow and the Gear You Need

We’ve all heard at least one disturbing story about driving in winter weather. Whether it’s losing traction and sliding into an intersection, hitting “black ice” at speed on the freeway, or abandoning a vehicle that got stuck in a snowbank, we get it. Most of us avoid driving in snow altogether one way or another, and for good reason: It’s stressful.

Only two things separate skilled snow drivers from the rest of us: knowledge and preparation. In the article below, you’ll learn both how to prepare your vehicle for the worst winter weather and the specific skills and strategies you’ll need to know for driving on snowy roads.

Snow and engine braking are good friends. Especially on steep descents, engine braking is important as it uses the decelerative forces in the engine to slow the car down in a controlled manner. All you have to do is slot into a lower gear, release your feet from the pedals and be in control of the vehicle’s steering. As precaution, your right foot can continue hovering over the brake pedal in case a sudden obstacle pops up ahead of you.

Be light on the brakes

On snow and ice, the grip levels are scarce and sudden braking can easily unsettle the car and have you skating. In such conditions, hard braking can cause your wheels to lock up, and in case of cars with ABS, the braking distances can be dangerously long. Best way is to drive slowly, vigilantly scan the road ahead, maintain enough distance from the vehicles ahead and feather the brakes when required.

Drive Super Smoothly

The key to safe driving in snow is being smooth with the steering wheel, accelerator, and brakes. Why? Jerky movements with the controls easily unstick tires that have a tenuous grip on the slippery road, so every turn of the wheel, push of the brakes, and movement of the throttle must be deliberate, gentle, and gradual. Pretend there’s a cup of scalding coffee in your lap and drive so as not to spill it.

Look Far Ahead

The slipperier it gets, the farther down the road you should look—and think. Anticipate what you’ll need to do next. Slow way down for turns. Allow double the stopping distance when the road is wet, triple on snow, and even more on ice. Driving carefully and safely takes extra concentration.

Avoid speeding up hills

When you approach a hill, don’t press the gas pedal hard to try and go up it. This can cause your tires to spin. Instead, build up a bit of speed leading up to the hill, then switch back to your normal speed when you’re going up the hill. Don’t stop on the hill if you can avoid it or you might get stuck.

Leave 5-6 seconds of space behind other vehicles

Even if you’re going slow, it can still take some time to stop on an icy road. If you’re following other cars, leave at least 5-6 seconds of following distance. This gives you plenty of time to stop safely.


If you want to check how closely you’re following someone, look at something on the side of the road up ahead, like a telephone pole. Start counting when the car ahead of you passes it, and stop counting when you pass it. The number of seconds is how closely you’re following that car.


If you’re unable to count your following distance, a good general rule is doubling the amount of space you usually leave when you follow other cars.

Turn with the skid if you’re starting to spin

This is the scariest type of skid, so do your best to remain calm. If you’re actually starting to spin out, let go of the gas and turn your wheel in the direction you’re spinning. This prevents the car from skidding further. When the car stops or regains traction, then turn your wheel back in the direction you want to go and press the gas gently.

What gear should you use in the snow?

you should try and move off in second gear and change up to a higher gear as soon as possible once the car is moving.

However, acceleration should be done gently, smoothly and using low revs.

Ideally, changing gear will be avoided as much as possible, so as you are approaching an uphill, leave as much room in front as possible so you can keep a steady speed and not have to touch the gear stick.

To avoid braking, use a lower gear when you are going downhill as using the brakes can cause you to lose grip.

Any gear changing should be done with the utmost care, trying to keep changes smooth and slow.

News Desk

News Desk staff at The Kashmir Radar. Posting unbiased news as we believe in pure journalism!

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