Driving in snow at night

driving in snow at night


Spring is here, but we did get quite a bit of snow over the past weekend in Fort Collins. So, we all need to think about how we can behave safely when driving in extreme weather conditions, like snow and ice. Snow and ice can produce a lot of traffic accidents. Drivers are always in a rush to get somewhere and in hazardous weather conditions, it is the better practice to slow down and pay much more attention to the roadway and what other motorists are doing.

When I raced cars in my younger days, they taught us how to steer out of dangerous conditions and how to drive in slow motion, if there is a hazard like ice or snow. You have to allow a much greater reaction time than when road conditions are dry and visible. Many times when driving in snow at night, you cannot see very far ahead. Thus, you need to drive slower and anticipate what may happen at any minute when driving in snow at night. Driving in snow at night on ice is dangerous and your car could start sliding at any moment. Oftentimes, drivers will not see ice on the road and only know it exists when they lose control of their vehicle.


Check your tires

To prepare for winter driving, it is even more important to check your tire tread life and tire pressure. Tires are super important when driving in hazardous conditions. If you have the money, it is a good idea to switch to winter tires in the winter and then save your summer tires for dry conditions. 

Rotate your tires

You should also rotate your tires at every oil change so that the tire wear is evenly distributed. Make sure your tires are properly inflated as low air pressure can make you lose control, especially in winter conditions. 

Change the fluids in your car

In preparation for winter, change the fluids in your car (oil and antifreeze), inspect your battery and make sure your car’s heater is functioning properly. Make sure your windshield wipers are properly fit for winter. Many windshield wiper companies have special winter wipers to deal with the added strain of ice and snow.


When driving on ice or snow, what should you do? 

Drive slow and steady.

Especially when driving in snow at night, “black ice” is basically invisible and you will not know you are driving on black ice until something happens. The best advice I can think of is to take it slow and steady. In other words, drive under the speed limit and be steady with the steering wheel. Jerky motions can send you into a spin or off the road. I learned in car racing school to move the steering wheel as if you are driving in slow motion. That way, you avoid the tendency to be jerky and dangerous. Once you start skidding, it is very difficult to control your vehicle, so the best practice is to avoid a skid in the first place by accepting the advice above.

How can you get out of a skid safely?

If your rear wheels are skidding, then steer into the skid to safely regain control. If it is the front wheels that are skidding, try to drive in a straighter line instead of at an angle. However, it is best to prevent a skid by keeping a sharp eye on the road, slowing down and driving in slow motion. When driving in snow at night, you do not want to go into a skid or slide.

Traction and stability control and 4-wheel drive.

If you are fortunate enough to have a newer car, then many of the newer cars have all kinds of safety features which make driving in snow at night much easier. Four-wheel drive is a great help in driving in snow at night or in winter driving. A lot of people in Colorado drive 4-wheel drive vehicles like Jeeps, Subura, Audi, etc. Traction control and stability control will help you immensely with driving in snow at night and navigating through treacherous snow and ice.

Plan your routes beforehand.

Make sure you plan your routes when you know you will be driving in hazardous wintery conditions. For example, have your navigation system ready to go to your desired destination. Tell someone that you trust like a family member or good friend, you will be going to such and such place so that if you never arrive, they know something happened out on the road.

Check your car thoroughly.

Make sure your car is full of gas and that you have checked all fluid levels. Check your tire pressure. Check your tires to make sure they have proper tread-life and do not need to be replaced. Snow tires are great in driving in snow at night in snowy states like Colorado. 

Sign up for AAA or other similar rescue service.

It is a good idea to sign up for AAA or Better World Club or some rescue service that will help you if you become stranded on the side of the road. It is worth the relatively small membership fee to have peace of mind if you get stranded while driving in snow at night. 

Check your car’s maintenance history.

Finally, check and make sure your car’s maintenance is up to date, so that you do have a higher chance of being stranded when driving in snow at night, in cold and snowy conditions. When driving in snow at night, you need to stay alert so if you become drowsy or sleepy, please pull over and rest or make the right decision and stay at a nearby hotel.

If you are injured while driving in winter conditions, then you can certainly call or email me. Driving in snow at night is particularly dangerous and I can evaluate your driving in snow at night factual situation and let you know if you do have a car accident case. I am one of the top car accident attorneys in Fort Collins and northern Colorado. I rank near the top for client satisfaction. I have all 5-star reviews from my past clients. Let me put my 22 years + of personal injury experience to work for you. All consultations with me are always free and I will give you a no BS opinion on the validity of your driving in snow at night case.

Be safe out there and above all—Drive slow and steady and always wear your seatbelt.