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Tips for Driving in the Snow

San Diego might have the most desirable weather in the United States. With an average of 70-degree temperatures all year, and rare days of rain, it’s practically an oasis. For those of us who live here, the steady, reliable weather is both a blessing and a curse. Sure, 70 and sunny is great, but what about some variety? Luckily, we have our local mountains to experience real seasons just a short drive away from home, and there’s always visiting friends and relatives in other states. Unluckily, we don't have much experience driving in inclement weather.

car driving in snowImage: Flickr

Here are a few tips to for driving in the snow:

  • Take it easy on the gas and brakes: smooth acceleration and deceleration are key to maintaining the maximum amount of traction on slippery roadways. If you stomp on the gas or the brake, you increase your chances of losing traction through your tires and ending up out of control of your vehicle.
  • Increase your following distance: it takes longer stop on cold, icy roads than you’re used to. Keep at least double the space you’d usually put between your car and the car in front of you at all times. You want to have time to react if they hit an unexpected patch of ice or aren’t driving as carefully as you are.
  • Slow down: the speed limit might be 40, but on slippery roads you should never go faster than you can have complete control over the car. Don’t tailgate anyone who might be going slower than you on the roads, and if someone is tailgating you, pull over when it’s safe and allow them to go ahead.
  • Look and steer where you want to go: if you want to go left, look left. Don’t get distracted by the sights of a beautiful winter wonderland until your car is safely stopped or parked.
  • Avoid sudden jerks of the steering wheel: just like with the gas and brakes, jerking your front wheels can result in a loss of traction that could end up putting you into a snowbank.
  • Practice putting on your snow chains: our local mountains often require snow chains to get to the summit during snowy conditions. Practice putting the chains on your car BEFORE you head up the mountain to make sure you know the process and that the chains are properly fit to your car. Rangers will check that you have put the chains on, but they will not help you put them on your vehicle.
  • Bring gloves: especially if you think you will need your snow chains! There’s nothing worse than trying to work small latches with frozen fingers.

The last and most important thing you should do before driving in the snow? Get your car checked out – There are a few things that you might not know about your vehicle that could be a serious problem up in the snow. Is your antifreeze at the appropriate dilution or will it freeze in your radiator? Are your tires rated for snow use? Stop by Convoy the day before you head to the slopes and we’ll make sure your car is in tip-top shape for making it up the mountain safely!

San Diego might have the most desirable weather in the United States.


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