Snow in the Southwest

Here in Minnesota, we drive on ice and snow most winters (OK, not this one, a reprieve after last year’s mammoth storms). We were reading through the weather report (yes, that’s what we do) and have some tips for the Southwest pulled from a larger article on driving in snow.

  1. If you must drive, clear off your windshield, windows, mirrors, headlights and brake lights (no one can see covered snow or ice covered brake lights).
  2. Make sure your wipers and headlights are turned on.
  3. Be patient – don’t rush! Remember, everyone else will be running late, too!
  4. Drive for the conditions. Go well below the speed limit – ice, snow, traffic and poor visibility will require longer following and stopping distances (allow at least 8 to 10 seconds for stopping).
  5. If you do come across a snow plow or sand truck, don’t panic, drive slowly and give them the right of way.
    • Drive slow, leave plenty of room for stopping distance (at least 150 ft.) and pay attention to the snow plow and what it is doing.
    • Snow plows and sand trucks may stop, back up or turn around suddenly
  6. Stay in the inside lane (the one furthest away from the curb) on multi-lane roads. Single lane road? Drive closer to the middle of the road. Why? Snow tends to drift and pile up on to the sides of the road.
  7. Drive in tire tracks that have already been established.
  8. Don’t changes lanes unless it’s necessary – you could catch a wheel in the heavy snow or an ice patch and lose control.
  9. Watch out for black ice. Black ice is common under bridges and overpasses. It’s called black ice because it’s dark and hard to see.
  10. If you need to make an emergency stop, don’t pump the brakes if your car has an Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS). When you release the brake, your car’s brake system will turn off and on.
  11. If you are stranded or stuck in a snowbank, do the following:
    • Using the shovel in your winter car emergency kit, clear away the snow from around the tires, under the car and near the exhaust.
    • If you have sand in your car, scatter it around the front tires (for front-wheel drive cars) or around the rear-tires (for rear-wheel drive cars).
    • Put the car in a low gear and go SLOW – do not spin the tires! This could ruin your clutch or transmission and create ice under your tires.
    • If the situation allows (and it’s safe), try to slowly “rock” the car back and forth to build a small amount of momentum.
    • Call roadside assistance if you are unable to free the car.

Good luck during this holiday travel week!!

– Susan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>