Winter Driving in WNY

Since: Jan 13

Bonaire, GA

#1 Feb 1, 2013
One of the intangibles,meaning something you cant control,to living in WNY is SNOW. We get it every year, sometimes alot sometimes not so much but its always there and along with it are the people who every year forget how to drive in it or never knew how to drive in it in the first place. Im not a professional or a driving instructor but I've had a license for 38 years now and before I took my current position with the military, I drove a truck for 24 years in all kinds of weather.
So that being said let me offer a few tips on driving in snow. First of all whatever type of vehicle your driving will not do anything you don't cause it to do. AWD,4WD,2WD,RWD it doesnt matter. At some point forward momentum plus slippery surface will take over. Theres a myth that you need 4WD in this area.No you dont you just have to know how to drive. In my mind unless your driving off road, 4WD is a waste of money both in the cost of the vehicle and what it uses in fuel. If you have front wheel drive thats all you really need. They do not slide off of roads or skid out of control all by themselves. The most important thing to remember in driving in the snow is R-E-L-A-X! If your that afraid of it or the conditions are that bad. Stay off the road. If you have to drive and you get caught in a squall or lake effect that drops the visibility eventually you will come out of it so just slow down or try to get off the road if you can.Your a danger to yourself and to others. Maintain plenty of distance between you and the vehicle in front of you wether your on the thruway or any other road. If they stop suddenly and your too close your gonna to hit them, period.
Back off and give yourself plenty of room. If you hit the brakes and slide, pushing harder on the brake pedal will not make you stop sliding. Take your foot off the brake and tap it again but do it quickly. Notice I said TAP, not drive it through the floor. If you have ABS brakes which most newer vehicles do, it does that for you if its working properly. If you have a rear wheel drive vehicle like I do and the back end of your vehicle starts to slide, counter steer in the opposite direction that the back end is sliding. Its a subtle movement that is all that is needed not a panic spin of the steering wheel! If you step on the gas and the wheels spin, let off of the gas and do it again gently. Stomping on the gas if your stuck will not get you unstuck. It will only make the situation worse.
And please please please before you head out take a few seconds to clean off ALL your windows. Nothing bothers me more than people that drive looking through a peephole in their windsheild because they are that much in a hurry.
Dont feel invinsible because you have 4WD that you can drive however you want in bad weather. Most of the vehicles Ive seen in ditches are SUVs that thought they are superman in the snow and nopthing can stop them. Its the law of physics and operator error that put them in that dicth 4WD or not!
Its winter, its Buffalo dont hate the snow,embrace it its part of our life every year. I drive an old 2001 Chevy S-10 rear wheel drive pickup with little or no weight in the back and I make it to work every day relaxed and without geting in an accident. Everyone can if you just stay calm and dont for gods sake tailgate in the snow!! Weapon System OUT!!

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