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Snow in the Forecast? Six Tips for Driving in the Snow

Meteorologists are predicting five mild-to-moderate snow events this year in the Portland metro area. Driving in the snow in Portland can feel like a slow-motion game of bumper cars because many Portlanders don’t know how to drive safely in the snow. We’ve got your back.

AAA 6 Tips for Driving in the Snow

1. Drive Slowly

Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Take time to slow down for a stoplight. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement.

2. Increase Following Distance

The normal following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the distance needed if you have to stop.

3. Know Your Brakes

Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.

4. Don’t Stop if You Can Avoid It

If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it. Whether you drive an automatic or a standard, you can also shift your car into a lower gear to help it slow down.

5. Don’t Power up Hills

Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just makes your wheels spin. Try to get a little speed going before you reach the hill and let that speed carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill as slowly as possible.

6. Don’t Stop Going up a Hill

Get some speed going on a flat roadway before you take on a hill.

Do you have access to roadside assistance? If you get stuck in the snow, a roadside assistance plan can turn an expensive stressful nightmare into a much easier situation. Some insurance providers will add roadside assistance to your car insurance for a low fee.

If you can avoid driving, stay home with a cozy drink and watch the snow fall outside your window. Ask your employer if you can work from home during a snow event or take a vacation day.