‘10 Tips For Driving In The Snow’
“I want you to roll back and forth a bit first…about a foot both ways…then you can stop and park”, said my driving instructor.
We had pulled into the Husky truck stop in Blue River. It was the middle of winter and it was snowing.
Blue River. Enough said.
Stopping to grab a coffee and stretch our legs, we (I!) needed a break before hitting the highway for the four or so hours back to Kamloops.
I was on one of my mandatory ‘long distance’ drives that had to be done before I could take my road test.
Since getting my Class 1 license about 15 years ago, I’ve hauled various materials, with various vehicles/equipment in some cray cray conditions and situations. Hauling in-town, out-of-town, up almost deactivated forest roads, up and down New Afton Mine’s steep switchback, unlit pit road with a full load of concrete at 3am on night shift and it’s -10 degrees celsius and snowing…there were some interesting times driving truck.
Now teaching Braden how to drive in winter, I thought I’d share some tips that may or may not be new and may or may not be helpful.
Here ya’ go:
1.) When parking in the snow, roll back and forth a foot or two when you stop. That way you’ll have a flattened area for your tires to have a bit of a rolling start and not get stuck.
2.) You can use creek water (or any water) as coolant to tide you over when overheating if cruising in the middle of nowhere ;)
3.) (Most of the time) Remember it’s the gas you need to press— not the brakes — around slippery corners when losing traction.
4.) If you see fresh tracks that go off the road and out of sight, have a look and check if anyone is still down there.
5.) Always have a proper kit in your vehicle with first aid supplies, jumper cables, a few snacks, water, one or two cones, flares and other emergency vehicle stuff applicable to your ride.
6.) Learn to change a tire.
7.) Learn to put on a set of chains.
8.) Heed. Speed. (limits ;)
9.) If the road looks dark and wet but the temperature is lingering around zero or below and there isn’t water splashing from the wheels of the vehicle ahead of you, be aware — it’s probably black ice. Temperature is always important to know and constantly check especially when lingering around zero, driving by water (lakes, rivers etc.) and/or in the dark. In winter when it’s snowy and possibly icy, the rule is white roads are better than black roads.
10.) If you have a manual transmission, use your gears as much as possible to slow down when it’s icy. Doing that will save your brakes and the control of your vehicle.
Also, hot tip…pun intended ;)
In the summer if your engine is overheating, turn on the heat full blast. You may enjoy an impromptu sauna experience but it will help get you to the nearest mechanic shop without blowing up your engine.
Safe travels all!