Last weekend’s holiday traffic reminded me that lots of people don’t feel comfortable driving through winter storms. Well, good powder days usually mean navigating through some crazy weather. Here are 10 tips to refresh everyone's winter driving skills.
1) Brakes are NOT your friend. Throttle control is the way to avoid trouble. Your brakes will burn up and do nothing to slow you down or the wheels will lock up making you slide, instead of stopping or avoiding an obstacle. Use your transmission-auto or manual. That way you'll have more control. #downshift #dontridethebrakes
2) If you set out to be the pace car, set a good pace. If you can't set a good pace and there are a couple good replacements behind you, then pull over to let them pass so that they can have a shot. #mountaindash
3) The "Passing Lane" is for, well...PASSING. Don't act like Mario Andretti in the passing lane, then slow back down to 12mph after you make it through the passing lane. I WILL run you off the road, flash my brights, honk, or even be right on your tail to remind you of the pullout areas if you cannot remember what the "Passing Lane" is for. #dontbeamenaceinthetwistys
4) The chain control area is not a playground. I really don't want to see Darwin's "Survival Of The Fittest" proved to me when your genetic offspring slides under a tractor trailer because they were running around throwing snowballs and slipped. #respectthechaincontrolarea
5) Learn how to read the size of your tires so you can purchase the correct chains for your vehicle. If they don't fit, duct tape & bailing wire is NOT a feasible solution. #chainsonlyworkiftheyfit
6) Four wheel drive does not mean four wheel stop. Yes, I usually set a good pace going uphill, but you better be ready for when I ease slowly down the hill or up to a stop sign. #fourwheeldrivedoesntmeanfourwheelstop
7) Speaking of pullouts, a blind corner is not a good place for a pullout area. Think visibility and a safe distance from the flow of traffic. Again, I'm not interested in a live screening of "Blood Flows Red On The Highway". #darwinawardcandidates
8) Avalanche areas are marked as such for a reason. Respect the mountains and don't put any of us at risk because the chains you installed poorly are scratching your two wheel drive SUV. How's your Prius’ fuel economy now that you’re spinning the tires? #dontblocktheroadbecauseyousnuckthroughchaincontrol
9) Lights are a good idea, especially if you drive a white vehicle in a snowstorm. And, don’t be afraid to use the hazards to make yourself extra visible in whiteouts. #hideandseekdriving
10) Don't be afraid to use your vehicle's defrost setting. If I can't see you driving, then I'm pretty sure you can't see the road. This also means to keep a scraper in your car and be sure to use it. #peekaboo #icantseeyou
These are not the only rules to follow during winter storm driving adventures. These are just a quick list of guidelines to help remind everyone of the dangers involved in winter driving. Don’t be afraid to use common sense. Trust the local to lead the way. And, don’t be afraid to go back inside to wait out the storm. Our Sierra storms can last for days and they’re often measured in feet.