Wyoming Winter Driving Refreshers
This is a good time to capsulize a two year old post on our site about how to drive in Wyoming winter weather. Take care of number one before it gets ugly.
Winterize Winterizing a car is making sure a four-wheel drive is working well. It's checking tire pressure if you don’t have a newfangled system that monitors that for you. It's possibly buying snow tires if you plan on a lot of time in snow. If windshield wiper blades are getting worn (one to two years old), having fresh new ones goes a long way to rid snow and ice. How’s your windshield-wiper fluid? Check antifreeze strength, and as for strength, make sure the battery charge is good.
Now to real winter driving when rule #1 is: Increase Your Following Distance. This may not be so much about you not being a good winter driver. It’s about others. On ice, none of our skills matter when others are sliding. Tailgating is just a bad idea anytime, especially in winter.
You need to remember this, especially when on ice. Do nothing abruptly, either with pedal or brake. Here is where there was one old piece of advice where I disagree. It was said, "You have lower gears. Use them to accelerate and decelerate gently." I say no to that.
Do not use gears. Shifting up or down is a change in inertia, and either an acceleration, or a decel, needs to be done slow and smooth. When it happens too sudden is when bad things happen. If you remember that, you've won most of the battle right there.
Practice Driving on Snow and Ice. Find a huge empty parking lot (like the far out edges from the mall). Spinning brodies and learning how to handle slides in a controlled spot helps confidence, which you’re less likely to need after getting a feel for where the limits are. In a skid always turn into the skid. Also you can always sign up for a winter driving course.
Gas Up and Keep Emergency Supplies in Your Vehicle. When traveling any distance in the snow, make sure you always have plenty of gas. You should also keep extra clothing and boots in the car, and a good winter emergency kit including:
- road flares
- snow shovel
- first-aid kit
- tow and tire chains
- cell phone charger
- winter gloves or mittens
- jumper cables
- packaged food like energy bars
- bottled water