How to Drive Safely in Snow and Ice

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We all know the safest thing to do when snow or ice is in the forecast is to just stay put. But the fact is Virginia’s climate is notoriously fickle. This dangerous mix is a constant possibility during winter and sometimes can't be avoided. And except for our neighbors in southwest VA, most Virginians don't get regular practice driving in these conditions.

First Stay Informed and Prepared

It's so important to stay aware of the latest weather updates in the southwest and north and central Virginia. 

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We have a great survival guide for a Virginia winter storm with critical contacts and information to stay informed. Our guide also can help you prepare your home and car and take care after the storm is over. Before you leave home, check road conditions with alerts and VDOT's free mobile apps, and have an emergency car kit.

Winter Emergency Car Kit

4 Ways to Drive Safely in Snow and Ice

So what's the safest way to drive in snow and ice especially if you rarely do it? 

In other words, drive the conditions!

As car insurance experts, we know there are five steps to safe driving in winter weather:

1. Be Humble & Respect the Elements

No driver (no matter how experienced) and no vehicle (no matter how well-equipped) can drive well on ice.

2. Slow Down

Drive the conditions! Some folks say just pretend you're taking grandma to church. There's a platter of biscuits and two gallons of sweet tea in glass jars in the back seat. She's wearing a new dress and holding a crockpot full of gravy.

3. Drive Defensively

Allow extra room between you and the car ahead of you and avoid changing lanes or passing other drivers.

4. Avoid Hard or Sudden Braking

Control your speed so you can minimize braking as much as possible, especially approaching stop signs and traffic lights.

What To Do If Your Car Starts to Slide

  • Take your foot off the accelerator
  • Stay calm but alert
  • TURN INTO THE SLIDE: Turn your front wheels in the same direction that the rear of your car is sliding (If the rear of the car is sliding to the right, turn the wheel to the right).
  • Do not over-correct (turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction).
  • Most cars have anti-lock brakes that safely pump the brakes for you in this situation. If you have an older vehicle that does not, you should pump the brakes yourself rather than hold the brake pedal down.
REMEMBER: Bridges and overpasses freeze first because frigid air can blow over AND under them. Use extra caution even when other road surfaces seem fine.

Finally, the Virginia Department of Transportation has great information for safe winter driving. While VDOT warns against all unnecessary travel in winter weather, they also recommend having an emergency car kit and staying up to date with statewide highway information before you hit the road.

 

All our auto policies provide 24/7 Emergency Roadside Assistance:

1-800-913-8847

If you have a claim, call your independent agent
or our 24/7 Toll-Free Claims Hotline:

1- 877-968-7252

Driving on Snow

 

Learn more about car insurance in Virginia

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