A Complete Guide to Driving in Snow Safely

Traveling in the snow appears to be an adventure, but it is difficult and dangerous. Drivers may be delayed for several hours or even stranded in dangerous situations. Wet and snow-covered roads have almost no traction, so drive with caution. The best advice is to avoid traveling during a snowstorm, but if you must, here is a complete guide about how to drive in the snow safely.

  • Thorough Vehicle Check
  • Emergency Kit / Basic Car Tools
  • Use a Multi-Viscosity Engine Oil
  • Snow Chains
  • Be Cautious While Driving in the Snow
  • Use Headlights and Fog Lights
  • Parking in Snow
  • Clearing Snow from the Windscreen
  • Antifreeze or Transmission Fluid
  • Heating System
  • Emergency Items
  • Turn Off the Cruise Control
  • Maintain a Distance
  • Wear Dry
  • Driving Uphill and Downhill
  • Effect of Snow on Car Batteries

Thorough Vehicle Check

Check your car thoroughly in advance to ensure the following:

  • The engine must function properly.
  • The battery is sufficiently charged.
  • The radiator is working properly.
  • The windshield wipers and washer jets work properly.
  • The alternator and other electronics are in good working order.
  • The defogger works properly.

Emergency Kit / Basic Car Tools

Travelers must carry emergency supplies such as a torch, blankets, a tow rope, a shovel, wheel chocks, plastic scrapers (to scrape ice off the windshield), bottled water, salt (which acts as a catalyst for melting the ice), food, and a first aid kit.

Use a Multi-Viscosity Engine Oil

When traveling to cold areas, it is best to use a 5w30 multi-viscosity engine oil because its low viscosity allows it to flow more quickly through the engine. In the extreme cold, proper lubrication and smooth operation are essential. Moreover, you must have a full tank of gas, so stop at the nearest gas station before continuing your journey.

Snow Chains

Snow chains are chains that are strapped to tires to provide extra traction on snow-covered roads. Snow-covered roads are extremely slick, and vehicles equipped with snow tires or chains are required. Cars fitted with chains should not be driven faster than 40 km/h, according to tire manufacturers. Every 200 meters, drivers must check the tension of the chains and remove them as soon as the road conditions improve.

Be Cautious While Driving in the Snow

It is essential to drive the car smoothly and at the appropriate speed. Driving too fast is the leading cause of accidents during the winter season, and sudden turns or stops can cause the car to lose control and skid away. It is important to use the brakes, throttle, and steering moderately. Drivers should slow down when navigating in poor visibility and grip levels because sudden braking, throttle use, and steering input can cause the vehicle to lose traction and crash.

Use Headlights and Fog Lights

To have a better and clear line of sight, drive slowly and use headlights and fog-lights. While keeping an eye out for detours, intersections, curbs, potholes, wildlife, pedestrians, and even other cars can be difficult in a snowstorm, it is possible to do so by driving slowly and carefully.

Parking in Snow

When parking in the snow, it is best to avoid using the handbrake. Extreme cold can cause the brake lining and cables to freeze, failing the entire system. It is also advisable to use a wheel chock or leave the car in gear while parked, and to fit snow chains to the tires of a parked car in case the situation suddenly worsens.

Clearing Snow from the Windscreen

When the car is parked, the wipers should be raised to prevent ice from forming on the windshield. To avoid damage from heavy snow, keep clearing the snow off the windscreen with a plastic scraper or lukewarm water every few hours.

Antifreeze or Transmission Fluid

While driving through heavy snow, add quality antifreeze to the radiator. As simple water lowers its temperature in these areas, you can use transmission fluid, also known as Tranny fluid, which is used in cars with self-shifting or automatic transmissions. Check the transmission fluid to ensure that the car runs smoothly on the road.

Heating System

Always inspect your car’s heating system. While traveling to snowy areas, the heating system should be in good working order.

Emergency Items

In addition, your vehicle is outfitted with a deicer, an extra bottle of antifreeze, a shovel, a flashlight, and a spare jug of wiper fluid. A set of jumper cables and a tow rope are also required.

Turn Off the Cruise Control

Drivers can use the cruise control of their cars to compensate by accelerating, which can cause them to lose control of the car. When the roads become slick, the driver must deactivate the cruise control.

Maintain a Distance

Maintain a greater braking distance between your car and the car in front of you, especially in wet, icy, or snowy conditions; leave up to ten times the usual recommended gap.

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Wear Dry

When you’re ready to get behind the wheel, put on dry, comfortable shoes. Avoid bringing snow into the car; puddles will form when it melts, and the pedals will become slippery.

Driving Uphill and Downhill

When approaching a slope, maintain a constant speed and try not to change gears. Likewise, when driving downhill drive slowly and in low gear to avoid braking whenever possible.

Driving Uphill and Downhill

When approaching a slope, maintain a constant speed and try not to change gears. Likewise, when driving downhill drive slowly and in low gear to avoid braking whenever possible.

Effect of Snow on Car Batteries

The cold weather affects your car’s battery and significantly reduces its life. The cold weather slows down the battery’s performance, so it takes longer to charge fully. Winters will have an even greater impact on your car’s battery if it is old and weak.


Hopefully, these minor precautions will help you while driving in the snow. You can be proactive during the winter now that you’ve learned a complete guide on driving in snow safely. Reduce your speed and pay attention to the road ahead when driving. Install winter tires on your car and keep emergency supplies on hand in case you get stuck.

Myrtle Knox: