Surviving Winter 2014: Snow Driving Tips from Tire Rack

Friday, January 17, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

When your driveway is covered with a foot of snow and it's -15 degrees below 0, it's definitely winter. Making this winter even more daunting is the persistently icy roads. Road salt won't melt anything at temperatures this cold. However, with the right driving technique and proper tires, driving in these conditions doesn't have to be so difficult.

What are the correct techniques for safe winter driving? We recently collaborated with Fox 28 South Bend to review some basic winter driving rules.

In this super quick and condensed lesson, our resident tire guru, John Rastetter, explains the keys to smooth winter driving:

  1. Maintain the proper speed for road conditions
  2. Allow enough braking distance
  3. Steer in the direction you want to go

As John points out, traction control helps dramatically. I suspect if John had more time in the interview, he would have talked about correcting a skid on a vehicle without traction control. If the rear end of your vehicle starts fishtailing to the left as you're making a right turn, quickly turn your wheel to the left to stop the skid. Once the vehicle stops skidding, straighten out the wheel to complete your turn. This is easier said than done as we saw in the video.

Of course, having the right tires means you're less likely to be skidding in the first place. Make sure you have optimal dedicated winter / snow tires or all-season tires with above-average snow proficiency for their category. As John points out, checking the tread depth and air pressure of your tires is very important, too.

While -15ºF isn't easy to deal with, driving in tough winter conditions doesn't have to be so hard when you have winter tires!

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