Seasonal travel can be challenging if your vehicle isn’t ready for winter snow.
You’ll likely run into all kinds of weather during all the seasons. Whether you’ve driven in snow before or not, it is always a good thing to know, especially if you plan on traveling year-round. Part of this has to do with knowledge of physically controlling a vehicle in this type of weather, but it’s also important to be prepared with the proper gear. These are the 6 tips we recommend for driving in the snow.
Invest in traction mats
Tractions mats are an accessory that isn’t 100% necessary, but will make a difference in a time of need. The mats work in mud, snow, and sand. They have raised tracks to prevent tires from spinning constantly. The tires then grip the mat and pull the vehicle out of whatever jam they are. These have gotten me out of more than one rough situation!
Carry a quality pair of chains (and know how to use them)
I’ve carried snow chains in my Sprinter for 4 years now and honestly, I’ve never had to use them. However, there are many areas that require you to carry them in your vehicle or may even require you to use them. While I usually avoid conditions that are bad enough to require chains, I feel substantially safer knowing that I have them if I need them. If you don’t have experience putting chains on a vehicle, I recommend quick fit chains. They essentially just snap on and tighten as you drive. Super easy!
Keep a portable jump starter in the trunk
Nobody wants to ever think that they could possibly get stuck. But the reality is, it’s definitely possible when you’re traveling in this kind of weather. This is especially important if you are camping overnight! Maybe your car won’t start because it’s too cold, or due to something else. But carrying a portable jump starter in your car is always a smart move.
Always ‘turn in’ to a slide-out
It’s easy to begin panicking if your vehicle starts to slip and slide in the snow or ice. However, it’s extremely important for you to stay calm and handle the situation safely. Instead of trying to correct your slide by turning your wheel in the direction you want to go, you actually want to turn your wheel in the direction that your vehicle is sliding. For example, if the back of your vehicle slides to the left, you’ll want to turn your wheel to the left as well. When your car starts straightening out, let your steering wheel follow suite.
Always have a shovel (just in case)
If you travel in a vehicle, you likely already carry a shovel for bathroom purposes. But this item serves as a dual-purpose product when it comes to driving in the snow. A shovel can be used to dig yourself out of being stuck, or help thicken wet mud by adding other local debri. Sometimes, the traction mats even need a little help from a shovel.
Travel with tow straps
Worst case scenario, you’re actually stuck and cannot find a way to get yourself out. This is when you may need a tow. Many people purchase AAA services but you may find yourself with cell phone service. For example, I found myself in a primitive campsite, stuck in the mud after a night of rain. A work truck was the only vehicle that passed by for over an hour but I was able to flag them down and use a tow strap to get pulled out. This may be your final save after getting stuck driving in the snow!