How to Drive on the Snow Safely

drive on the snow

Snow and ice are the meteorological phenomena that cause the most problems on the road during winter because in many cases they greatly impede the movement and hinder the visibility of drivers, in many cases producing a feeling of overwhelm or dizziness. Besides, when the first snowflakes perch on the road, it becomes very slippery, and as the thickness increases, so make the difficulties that will prevent those who do not use chains or winter tires, continue on their way.

How to drive during a snowfall?

If during a trip or trip the snow surprises you on the road, you must remember that the first thing you will have to do is turn on the low beam (if the snow is very intense, turn on the fog), reduce the speed and increase the safety distance. Try to follow the groove already marked by the vehicles that circulate in front of you and avoid making sudden movements with the steering wheel.

Once the gear starts, it is advisable not to accelerate and gently release the clutch foot. If you are facing a slope, keep calm and use long gears to climb it, so that the vehicle does not skate on the road. Remember also that the chains must always place on the driving wheels of the vehicle, and only when the snow thickness is considerable since doing so when it is scarce can cause damage to the tire or the tire. It is also essential that you keep in mind that if you have to drive with the chains on, you should do so at a moderate speed and try not to exceed 50 km / h.

drive on the snow

Currently, many drivers opt for winter tires and, although they are not mandatory in Spain, they are extremely useful in mountainous areas and in those provinces where snow is present during much of winter. Later in this article, we will talk about the differences between using chains or winter tires.

You should also take into account a series of recommendations such as: knowing in advance the state of the roads on which you plan to travel, bring warm clothes, water, food and a mobile phone charger for the car. You can see what else recommended to take in the car during a trip in these articles: Useful things to take in the car and What things should not be missing this winter in your car?

Another aspect that you should not forget is that during the winter, it is discouraged to make trips or displacements if the vehicle has little fuel. The fuel will serve as food so that you can turn on the heating of your car. Also, in those cases in which when the vehicle starts, the vehicle covered with snow or ice. Do not forget to remove them from the front moon or the roof and never use hot water to melt them.

How to put the chains to the car?

As published by the ABC newspaper, 7 out of 10 Spaniards do not know how to put the chains. This data is current since it comes from results taken from the V Radiography of the Mobility Habits of the Spanish Mobility Forum 2018. In this study, it concluded that the inhabitants of Navarra are the ones with the greatest knowledge about the assembly of chains, followed by Zaragoza, Oviedo, and Santander.

drive on the snow

Next, we leave you the video tutorial that we have on our YouTube channel on how to place the chains :

If the road situation implies that you have to put chains, we advise you to keep the following tips in mind:

  • Never exceed 50 km / h and always adapt your speed to the conditions and circumstances of the road.
  • Retreat to a safe place if you need to place the snow chains, because unless you are used to performing this action, it may take a little longer than it usually costs to put them on. Also, unless it is a space specially enabled for this purpose, remember to signal the stop with the triangles and emergency lights.
  • Place the chains on the vehicle’s drive wheels. If it is a front-wheel drive, place them on the front axle and if it is rear-wheel drive, on the rear. If your car is a 4 × 4 with all-wheel drive, it recommended to place the chains on the four tires or, if this is not possible, on the steering wheels that are usually the front.
  • Check the manufacturer’s instructions before placing the chains to avoid skipping any important points.
  • If you have gloves, use them as this will avoid possible cuts in the hands.
  • Before starting the march again, check that the chains are well tensioned and check that the assembly is correct and that there is no loose hitch.
  • Do not continue to circulate with the chains if it is not necessary. At the moment when the thickness of snow ceases to be sufficient, please stand up and remove the chains so that they do not damage your tires.

drive on the snow

What are the differences between using chains or winter tires?

Although, as we said at the beginning of this article, many drivers still do not know how to put the chains, winter tires only account for 5% of sales. These types of tires offer greater grip than conventional tires when there is snow on the shoes and, besides, concerning conventional tires, they also reduce the risk of aquaplaning.

But what many drivers do not take into account is that when temperatures are low even if there is no snow on the road. Winter tires are much more effective since normal tires tend to harden and lose adhesion. In addition to that, with them, the braking distance is greater if the conditions are not optimal.

Winter tires have a different composition than conventional tires because their rubber is softer, more flexible, and has a higher silica load, which means that if used in suitable conditions, wear occurs more evenly and slowly. However, it should bear in mind that all these characteristics may not be as convenient if the temperatures are high since they increase both fuel consumption and tire wear.

To better see the difference between winter tires and chains, both accessories must test on equal terms, and this has done on a 60-centimeter covered snow track, comparing the experience of 2 Nissan X-Trail. In contrast, the vehicle equipped with winter tires behaved, offering a better grip in both the use of all-wheel drive and only the front one (in the first one, it was much better. Since the driving hardly varied from a conventional one without snow on the road, the vehicle equipped with chains had a much louder and unstable behavior and had to drive at lower speeds.

Winter tires are, therefore, an extra safety against the chains, in addition to the inconveniences that arise when having to place the latter in generally extreme situations, both cold and snow. Another disadvantage of the chains is that they must be placed and removed at a certain time, while with winter tires, it is not even necessary to stop.

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