People tend to do a lot of things trying to beat winter driving. You may find people going for all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive cars, using winter tires, chains, and so much more. The aim would be to get by during the tough winter months.
One thing you may notice is that people also tend to underinflate their tires in winter. However, is this a good idea?
We can confidently say that underinflating the tires is not the best thing to do for driving in snow. This is because driving on deflated tires for long leads to uneven wear and other driving issues such as having a hard time controlling the steering.
We know that traction is very important while driving in snow. That largely happens when you deflate the tires. However, when you deflate too much, it means now the side wall is rubbing against the surface. It will not take long before that tire has a blowout or uneven wear.
It is not just the tires alone, but also the wheels too. Since the tires are low on pressure, it means the wheels are vulnerable to bending if you hit something.
Sometimes, deflating could also mean a lot more traction than you need. Yes, there is such a thing. When the traction is too much, it makes it hard for you to steer the vehicle. No one would want to be driving around in a car they cannot steer.
How to Drive Safely in Snow
Since we have established that you keep the tires deflated correctly, how best can you drive in snow? Here are tips for driving safely in case there is snow.
1. Drive smoothly
Driving in snow is all about how you can control your car. This means that you should be super smooth with the way you drive.
No need for sudden acceleration and braking. If it is accelerating, make sure it is as smooth as possible.
Some people like to think of a hot cup of coffee on their laps so that they can be gentle and gradual while driving on snow.
2. Extra concentration is needed
Driving in snow requires proper planning. The moment you notice that it is getting slippery, then focus more on the road ahead.
Make sure to slow down on turns and also give yourself double the stopping distance you would give yourself. What is key is that you always have proper control of the car.
3. Watch out for stability control system warning
Cars are quite intelligent right now. More people would often ignore the flashing lights on their dashboards. However, we would not recommend that you do that right now.
One of the lights you should be watching is the stability control system. If you find the light blinking, then it means there is a problem with traction and you should slow down.
You may also experience the same when turning fast into a corner. The system comes on to help you know when to slow down and make the turn without skidding.
4. Dealing with skids
One thing possible with snowy weather is that you are likely to skid at some point. What is important is how you will handle the skid and emerge without damaging your car.
It is possible that the first reaction would be to hit your brakes. Do not do that but rather consider the following.
If it is a front-wheel skid, ease off the accelerator. Keep correcting the wheels and only go when there is enough traction in the wheels.
How about the rear wheel skid? For such a type of skid, we recommend turning the steering in the same direction as the rear is skidding in. Do this while easing off the accelerator. This should help you regain control of the rear.
This video should give you more insight
5. Fit the car with winter tires
Fitting winter tires is a good strategy for driving in snow. This is because the tires are designed for these conditions. Even those who might be thinking of deflating their tires, are better off using winter tires.
The winter tires will be good for you to generally experience better traction control. Those who might have been anxious about driving in snow can now claim and remain confident about driving in snow.
6. Plan ahead
Proper planning is definitely key when it comes to driving in snow.
Are you familiar with the road? If not, are there any advisories against driving on such a road?
These are some of the things to ask so that you do not find yourself driving on a dangerous road when it could have been avoided. Also, slow down in case you are driving on an unknown road. It can be nice to have another person in the car to help with navigation too.
Here are more tips on how to drive in snow
How does cold weather affect tire pressure?
A drop in temperature is also going to affect the tire pressure. It is estimated that you can lose an average of 1 to 2 PSI for every drop of 10 degrees F. It is not by much, but you always consider it before deflating the tires for winter.
What is the correct tire pressure in winter?
Even if it is snowing, you should maintain the recommended tire pressure by the manufacturer. Most passenger cars would be at 30 to 35 PSI. This is to ensure the wear and tear is even and you can control the car better.
How often should you check the tire pressure?
It is best for you to consider checking the tire pressure once or twice a month. The tire pressure is not likely to change a lot, so twice a month is enough to know if to add or reduce the tire pressure.
When should you check the tire pressure?
Checking the tire pressure should be done when the tires are cold. Since it will be snowing, that should not be a problem here. If it was summer, consider checking the tires before driving them over a long distance. Measuring the tires when they are still cold will give you an accurate reading.