Welcome to week three of our “Safe & Sound Holidays: Navigating Road Safety in Nashville’s Festive Season” series. While Nashville’s winters are often more about brisk winds than blankets of snow, when the white flakes do make an appearance, it’s essential to be prepared. ‘Driving in snow’ may not be a daily reality, but it’s a skill that every Middle Tennessee driver should have in their arsenal. This week, we’re diving into the crucial tips for safe driving in snow, ensuring you and your loved ones navigate these less frequent, yet challenging conditions with confidence. If you’re just catching up, don’t forget to read our previous articles in our series:
- Holiday Travel Prep: Ensuring Vehicle Safety for Long Journeys.
- Celebrating Responsibly: Avoiding DUIs During Festive Gatherings
Understanding the Risks of Driving in Snow
Driving in snow and icy conditions is fraught with challenges. The slick surfaces reduce tire traction, making steering and stopping more difficult. Reduced visibility due to falling snow or fog further complicates the situation. It’s crucial to understand these risks to prepare adequately for safe winter driving.
Preparing Your Vehicle for Snowy Conditions
- Winter Tires: A must for driving in snow. These tires are designed to provide better traction and handling on snowy and icy roads.
- Windshield and Lights: Ensure your windshield and lights are clear of snow and ice for maximum visibility.
- Emergency Kit: Equip your vehicle with a winter emergency kit, including blankets, a flashlight, a shovel, and snacks.
For more insights on holiday travel preparation, be sure to read the first article in our series, Holiday Travel Prep: Ensuring Vehicle Safety for Long Journeys, where we delved much more deeply into the subject.
Safe Driving Practices in Snow
- Reduced Speed: Slow down. It’s the golden rule for driving in snow. Lower speeds allow more reaction time and reduce the risk of skidding.
- Increased Following Distance: Keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead. This distance should be increased in snowy conditions to allow ample stopping time.
- Gentle Maneuvers: Avoid sharp turns and sudden stops. Gentle and smooth driving maneuvers are key when driving in snow.
A humorous, yet apt, perspective shared on social media encapsulates this idea perfectly:
If you rarely drive on snow, just pretend you’re taking your grandma to church. There’s a platter of biscuits and 2 gallons of sweet tea in glass jars in the back seat. She’s wearing a new dress and holding a crock pot full of gravy.
— Christine Sperow FOX 5 (DAWGS are 14-1💃🏾) (@ChristineOnTV) January 18, 2018
Navigating Hills and Curves
When driving in snow, hills and curves require extra caution:
- Approach uphill drives with steady momentum; avoid stopping midway.
- For downhill slopes, reduce your speed and use lower gears to control descent.
- Navigate curves slowly and steadily, avoiding any sudden steering movements.
What to Do If You Skid
Despite precautions, skidding can occur:
- Remain Calm: Panic can worsen the situation.
- Steer Gently: Steer in the direction you want to go. Avoid oversteering.
- Avoid Slamming the Brakes: Braking suddenly can lock up your wheels, worsening the skid.
Special Considerations for Night Driving
Driving in snow at night adds another layer of complexity:
- Use low beams in heavy snow or fog to reduce glare.
- Drive even more slowly at night, as visibility is further reduced.
When to Avoid Driving
Sometimes, the safest decision is not to drive:
- During severe weather warnings.
- If your vehicle is not equipped for snow.
- If you are not comfortable driving in such conditions.
Driving in snow demands respect for the elements and adherence to safe driving practices. By preparing your vehicle, understanding the challenges, and adjusting your driving habits, you can navigate Middle Tennessee’s winter roads more safely.
At Stillman & Friedland, we understand that accidents can happen despite your best efforts. If you’re involved in a road incident, especially during this holiday season, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We specialize in helping our clients navigate the complexities of post-accident procedures. Our experience with traffic-related cases can provide you with the guidance and support you need.
Call our Nashville team at 615-244-2111 for a free, confidential consultation. You can also reach out via our live chat or online contact form.
Stay tuned, and most importantly, stay safe on the roads this holiday season.
Because we care…
Stillman and Friedland