Blizzard TravelJanuary 28, 2022
Blizzard Driving Tips
Imagine driving home when all of a sudden the wind picks up. The snow begins to pick up. Visibility is getting lower and lower. Then it hits you. You are driving in a blizzard. Do you continue on your way or head back? Should you abandon the car or stay in place? This guide will help you if you find yourself traveling in a blizzard.
Snow makes it hard to gain traction, creating dangerous situations. Losing traction, also known as skidding, is a nearly or complete loss of control. Reducing speed lowers your chance of skidding. Also, visibility is low. Often if you won’t see the danger until it’s too late, so slow down.
8-10 Second Rule
We all know about the three-second rule. But during a blizzard, it gets increased to 8 to 10 seconds. With reduced visibility and less traction, sudden stops are going to occur. The extra time gives you more time to react and safely avoid danger.
Have you heard of threshold braking? This is usually reserved for professional racers, but it can benefit you in emergencies. Place your heel on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply the brake. This uses nearly 100% of the tires’ grip to slow down in the shortest time. Being able to break efficiently is vital to traveling in a blizzard.
Follow the Leader.
The cars in front of you clear the way. The vehicles move snow and slush, creating a safer path. The path will also steer away from road hazards. So follow the other cars with at least an 8-10 second distance.
Shelter in Place
Visibility is low. No traction. You are skidding. Your vehicle is at a standstill. You’ve exhausted all efforts and resources—time to shelter in place. If you find yourself in this situation, do not walk away from your car. If you do not see a building within 100 yards, stay in place. You can tie something colorful to your mirror antenna or window to flag emergency crews. If it’s dark, use the interior light. You could leave your engine running, but you need to know how much gas you are using. You can leave the car running for warmth and radio transmissions. Just be sure to clear your exhaust pipe. If your phone is dying, change your voicemail to let someone know where you are. Even if the phone dies, the voicemail will still work if someone calls.
After experiencing getting caught in a blizzard, you might want to do some maintenance on your brakes, axles, and tires. After sliding, skidding and sudden stops could cause significant damage. If left unchecked could escalate to total failure. Bring your vehicle to Full Circle Auto and Training Center for a diagnostic test to be safe rather than sorry. Then we will see if there are repairs that need to be conducted. Full Circle’s two locations are in Halethorpe and Waverly, with more locations to come. Full Circle Auto Repair and training center takes appointments and walk-ins.