Close up of car tires on a snowy road

Tips for Safe Winter Travel

The best way to stay safe when the roads are snowy and/or icy is to stay home. However, with work and family responsibilities, that isn’t always possible. The next best thing you can do is to practice safe winter driving and use caution when on the roads. Find our tips for avoiding and correcting skids on snowy and icy roads below. 

How to correct a skid on snowy and icy roads 

Most skidding is caused by driving too fast for the road conditions. Try and avoid skids entirely by reducing your speed and avoiding sudden turns, braking, and accelerating.  

An empty highway covered in snowYour Wheels Are Spinning – If your wheels are spinning but the car isn’t moving as fast as the wheels, you are pressing too hard on the accelerator. Take your foot off the pedal briefly until your tires find traction and then press the gas again more gently. 

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You Lose the Ability to Steer Around a Corner – This is called understeering and it is caused by going too fast around the corner. Gently press on the brakes while steering the vehicle around the corner. Don’t turn the steering wheel any further than normal or you could overcorrect and cause another problem. 

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The Back of Your Vehicle Starts to Go Back and Forth – This is known as fishtailing and is one of the hardest skids to correct. You need to steer in the direction of the skid, meaning whichever way the rear of your vehicle is going you need to slightly shift your steering wheel in that direction. Make sure to straighten
your steering wheel when the back starts to straighten and keep your steering
motions calm and smooth. Overcorrecting too hard will result in added skidding. 

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Practice in a Safe Location 

Understanding what to do on paper and reacting appropriately while in a skid are two different things. Consider heading to a safe location (like an empty parking lot) the next time it snows so you can practice correcting skids and can get a feel for safe driving speeds.