Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Cars & TransportationSafety · 1 month ago

How to get over the fear of driving in snow?

I moved to Iowa from Florida and I work 45 minutes away from home. I am TERRIFIED of driving in snow and had to do it tonight. It turned into a two hour drive and I had a panic attack lasting the whole time. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to weaken this fear? 

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  • Mystic
    Lv 5
    3 weeks ago

    During the winter months, have winter/snow tires put on your vehicle. Consider a 4x4 vehicle if your current one is not already 4x4. Keep in mind though that while a 4x4 is nice, it is NOT foolproof. It can HELP in snow, but you can still lose control and crash and you're still capable of getting stuck if there are deep enough drifts. Also keep in mind that 4x4 will do NOTHING if ice is involved. You could also try an all wheel drive vehicle, but again - it doesn't give you the right to drive like an idiot.

    Your best option is to simply use caution. If it's snowing, reduce your speed and increase your following distance. Keep a close eye on your surroundings as other drivers may be slipping and sliding. If you start to slide, DON'T panic! If you panic, you're more likely to overcorrect and crash. Turn your wheel into the skid, not away from it and slow down. Try to get back into the swing of things or if you know you can't and you're going into the ditch, just ease off the gas and hit the ditch as easily as possible. NEVER slam on the brakes or make sudden wheel movements. These are great ways to lose control. Always ease off the gas, be gentle with the wheel, and tap/lightly press your brakes.

    Bridges are overpasses are definitely some of the first areas to freeze/get slick during the snow, so be especially careful with those area. Be really careful at stop signs/stop lights too. Sometimes, you may slide right on through them. If someone else is traveling too fast, they may slide through too. Keep a close eye on other drivers. When you're needing to stop, start slowing down sooner than usual in case you'd start to slide. In slick conditions, you'll need extra reaction time and extra stopping distance.

    Be sure you use your headlights but NOT your high beams. High beams can actually make things like rain, snow and fog appear worse/heavier/thicker than it truly is. Use your regular headlights. Be sure you give plenty of warning when turning as well. Flip your signal on well in advance so drivers behind you are aware you'll be stopping/turning in the near future.

    Don't let other drivers bother you. If someone starts to tailgate you, don't let that intimidate you or make you feel like you have to speed up. You don't and you shouldn't in bad weather. If they want to pass, let them. It doesn't mean YOU have to drive like an idiot just because someone else insists on doing so.

    Even if you've been driving a long time, you are still a "new driver" when it comes to snow because you're originally from Florida. That being said, practice in the snow in SAFE areas. When there's some snow on the ground, head to a parking lot. A local school after hours or on Saturdays/Sundays is awesome for that. Just be mindful you're often not permitted to be in a school area during school hours or once it's dark. Aim for the 4:00pm-6:00pm range on week days/active school days and mornings/afternoons on weekends/non-school days. Also be aware that there are indeed after school activities sometimes, so be mindful of the potential of pedestrians and other vehicles. You can drive around the lot and get used to the proper techniques for this type of condition. You can practice with the braking, gas and steering. You can also go to abandoned lots if you have any and there aren't any signs telling you to keep off the property. You can also go out driving with someone who has more experience in the snow. If you know a friend/family member in your new state, have them help you get used to the "snow life".

    Overall, just use common sense, be careful, and drive slow. You will get more used to it the more you're exposed to it but trust me - it will NEVER be "fun" to do. Winter weather SUCKS!!!!!

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  • 1 month ago

    There is only one way.  You already know what that way is.

    And hell yes you should slow down on slippery roads, because that's just common sense.  Snow is a nightmare for any driver.  It kills your visibility, and it's slippery as all hell.  Look what happened in Montreal last week, and those people drive in snow for nearly half of every year.

    The more you do it, the better you'll get at it.  There are no shortcuts.

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  • David
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    Practice makes perfect. I grew up in the mountains where snowfall was usually measured in FEET (not inches) for much of the year from roughly Halloween to late April. When I first started driving, I was encouraged to take my car into large, empty parking lots and deliberately drive in an unsafe manner. Like speed up too fast / power slide, brake too hard (lock up wheels, losing control) turn too hard (so that the car keeps going STRAIGHT with the wheel turned to the left or the right. Etcetera.

    See, there's only one way to properly learn how to drive, and that is to push limits. Until you know what your own limits are, as well as the capabilities of the vehicle you are driving...then you will never truly be safe behind the wheel at any speed, or in any kind of weather conditions.

    I was taught how to "drift" before I even knew that was a sport. That is a very handy skill to have in winter. EXAMPLE: Several times, I have started to turn a corner on ice or snow, only to have my rear wheels kick out on me. But because I know how to drive, I always recovered by pure instinct / muscle memory, lifting off the throttle, disengaging the clutch and turning into the slide....all before I even had a moment to think about it. Pure instinct...

    You get there by practicing on snow and ice, in a safe environment. Like in the middle of an empty parking lot...where if you screw up...you aren't likely to hit anything. You constantly cause your car to go out of control in low traction (snow/ice) so that you can practice getting it back under control.

    If you don't want to do this on your own, there are professional driving courses you can take on closed roadways. But these lessons often cost many thousands of dollars. On the other hand, a nervous driver is more dangerous than a DRUNK driver. So the cost of the lessons might be worth it in the long run.

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  • 1 month ago

    Go with your best friend or trusted adult, then try to drive on snow, practice for several days before you can do it alone. 

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  • 1 month ago

    I'm from Ohio, not my fault , lol. I was just used to it, but when I did start driving I went and played around in empty parking lots, main thing is braking, just go extra slow and never brake in a turn, use the brakes long before turns, or coast as much as possible. But yeah just go somewhere safe and play around a little. Make sure where you go you are aware of the surroundings and don't go sliding from ice or snow to dry pavement or you could flip over depending on what you drive. if you are really worried just miss work or school that day, you can't learn or earn from the hospital or without your ride.

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  • 1 month ago

    It's a matter of experience. Go VERY slowly and NEVER make any sudden steering or braking, The key is to everything slow and steady. You'll gain more confidence as you go. The fact you made it home in one piece is a very good thing.

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  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Focus more,  take a deep breath.  Drink some hot chamomile lavender tea

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  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    proper tires and don't drive so close or as fast as you do on dry pavement.

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  • 1 month ago

    Get out there and do it, the more you practice the more you learn

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  • 1 month ago

    Get the right tires for your car and talk to your neighbors, friends and colleagues. You might find some kindly soul who will talk to you about it and maybe even demonstrate.  You'll find it gets easier the more you do it.

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