Tips for Driving in the Snow and Cold Weather

When you live in Oceanside CA it might not occur to you when you head up to the mountains for a little snowboarding, sledding or skiing that there are a few key things you should know about winter driving and winterizing your car. To most people who live in an area where there is snow every winter these are obvious tips. So to avoid problems while traveling to the slopes and to look and act more like a local at the ski resort check out the tips below.

First and foremost, check your tires. Make sure you have a good amount of tread, old, worn out tires will not grip the snow very well. If you really want to make sure you are covered, get snow tires.

Next, make sure you have chains for your tires. Also, unless you want to be stuck figuring out the whole chains thing by the side of the road (usually in snow), practice once at home on your sunny driveway.

Use rubber floor mats instead of your nice carpet mats, in a pinch they can double as a cushion between you and the snow when you are putting on those chains.

Make sure your windshield wipers are working and you have plenty of washer fluid. Coming from So Cal, many times your windshield wipers haven’t been used in months! Functioning wipers and lots of fluid will keep that snow under control.
Get a check-up for your car. A road trip to the mountains is particularly brutal on brakes, batteries and coolant its beneficial to check and avoid future brake repair. For good measure also check the belts and hoses.

Pack an Emergency Kit. Sometimes things go wrong and you are stranded on the side of the road. That’s fine in sunny Southern California but in the snow you can get cold and in trouble fast.

  • Flashlight with spare batteries.
  • Ice scraper / brush for clearing your windshield.
  • Sand / gravel/ +
  • in case you get stuck in the snow and need to get some extra traction under your wheels.
  • Jumper cables.
  • A spare jacket, blanket and work gloves.
  • If you don't have one yet, you may want to get a cell phone. Make sure you have an automobile charger for your phone in your car at all times.

Drive Safely. It’s harder to stop or turn on wet, icy, or snowy pavement then on dry pavement so drive slower and give yourself a safer distance when following cars. This simple rule seems obvious but easy to forget. When approaching an intersection go slowly, you never know when someone else is sliding on the ice and unable to stop. Avoiding accidents and problems is much easier when you are taking it slow. But most of all, have fun going to the snow is a great way to spend your vacation and when you are prepared and drive safely you will have an even better time.