Drivers who are new to snow and ice covered roads may feel overwhelmed about the care and precaution that goes along with driving in this winter weather. But if you live in the northeast, snowy winter driving is another part of everyday life that you will grow accustomed to. For this reason we are discussing safe winter driving tips for internationals living and commuting in these cold conditions.
As a new international driver, you will need to learn the best ways to prepare yourself so that you can travel safely and with confidence in any kind of weather.
In this post, you will learn helpful tips and tricks to:
- Prepare your car for driving after snow;
- Choose the best features for your winter-weather car;
- Be prepared for any winter weather situation.
Make your car drivable in bad weather:
Before you hit the road, it’s important to know how to deal with your vehicle when it is covered with snow or ice. Having a clear car before you drive is important, because any remaining snow or ice can make it very hard to see. Even if there is snow only on your roof, a quick stop could send that debris forward onto your windshield, making it difficult for you to see.
- Keep a shovel in the car:
You never know when a storm will occur, so keeping a shovel in your car is a good habit to maintain access to your vehicle so you can safely leave at any time.
Delaying your shoveling for too long in cold temperatures can mean you have to shovel away heavy ice when you dig out your car. Instead, try to manage the heavy stuff in batches, even if it’s still snowing outside. You’ll thank yourself later.
- Buy an ice scraper… or two:
A shovel is the tool you need to get snow away from your car, but you should never use a shovel to remove snow from your vehicle — unless you want to completely ruin your car paint.
An ice scraper is the safest way to remove snow from your vehicle without damaging the exterior. You should always keep one in the car in the wintertime; the time you spend in the grocery store or at work is long enough for snow to accumulate on your vehicle.
But if you really want to be prepared, you should invest in two good ice scrapers. One for your car, and one for the house. This way, you can remove enough snow from your car doors after a storm so that you can open the door without snow falling in. No one likes a wet and cold seat on the way to work!
- Keep your windshield wiper blades in the out position:
When you use this tip, everyone will know that you are a winter storm pro. Lifting your windshield wiper blades up and away from the windshield will make your life easier when it comes time to removing ice from your car. You will have full access to the glass to clean it off, as well as to the underside of the blades.
- Sign up for parking alerts from your city online:
If you park on the street, then there may be restrictions in certain winter storm conditions. Prepare ahead of time by signing up for alerts directly with your city, which can reduce the risk of you getting a hefty parking ticket, or worse, towed!
The best car features for winter-weather driving:
Whether you’re looking for a new car or are simply open to helpful additions to your car, these features can help keep you safe and comfortable for driving in winter weather.
- All wheel drive: If you’re still looking for a car that will be safe for winter driving, a vehicle with all-wheel drive is a must.
This function gives the car tire more power by providing better traction –or grip–on the road. This feature is important when driving in snowy and icy conditions, but also comes into play when roads are heavily covered in water. It is especially useful for climbing hills that are slippery, or making turns safer. Your wheels are less likely to spin out, which gives you more control on the road.
- All wheel drive is a feature that should be at the top of your list when looking for a winter ready car.
- Snow tires: While all-year/all-weather tires do exist, it is important for drivers in cold regions to invest in snow tires. These tires are manufactured to be used in the snowy and cold weather. With better traction comes better safety, Combined with All-Wheel drive, these tires will help make sure you get from point A to point B safely.
- Heated Seats: heated seats are nice to have in the colder months. This is purely for comfort, but if you’re someone who gets cold easily, this is definitely a worthwhile investment for driving during the cold of winter.
When it comes to winter driving, your greatest tool can be your preparedness. Here are some quick tips for being prepared for all situations.
- Find a mechanic: You never know when you might need a last minute oil change or need your car heater fixed. Having a plan to know which mechanic you’ll call when you need it will decrease your stress during an emergency.
- Stay warm: In the event that your car breaks down, staying warm is of the utmost importance to your safety. Keeping at least one heavy blanket in the car, as well as hand warmers, can make a huge difference in an emergency.
- Kitty litter in your car: That’s right. Even if you don’t have a cat, this is the best way to give your tires some traction when you’re stuck on ice. Inexpensive and easy to store away, these crystals absorb moisture and help to create traction for your tires to latch onto.
The key to driving safely in the snow is knowing what to expect, and being prepared. Confidence and common sense go a long way on snowy and icy roads. We hope that you now feel equipped with these safe winter driving tips for internationals.
Be sure to pack up your car with all the supplies you might need, and take your time! Stay safe on the road!