How to Drive in a Blizzard

How to Drive in a Blizzard (and What to Do if you Get Stuck)

The best way to stay safe in a blizzard is to stay at home. But if you must be out on the road, we’ve got some tips for you to make the best of it.

How to drive in a blizzard (and what to do if you get stuck)

Be prepared

  • Gas is pretty cheap these days. Keep your gas tank topped off a little more this time of year. If you get stuck, you’ll be able to leave the car running and stay warm until help arrives.
  • Make a winter emergency kit with windshield scraper, shovel, water and snacks, blanket and warm clothes, road salt or sand for traction, first aid kit and anything else you might need on the road.
  • Make sure you know where to park so you don’t get plowed in.
  • Before driving, clear off all of your windows and mirrors of ice and snow. Don’t forget to clear off your headlights and taillights! Blinkers don’t work when they’re not visible.

While driving

  • Be patient. Stopping and changing direction are going to take much longer than normal, so slow down and stay alert.
  • Pick a lane and stick to it. Drive in the tracks created by other cars. Don’t change lanes unless the one you’re in becomes unmanageable. A sudden lane change maneuver might put your car in the ditch.
  • Don’t try to pass snow removal trucks — that’s asking for trouble. Besides, your best place to be is well behind a plow as it clears a path or salts the road for you.

If you get stuck

  • If you’re really, really stuck or have ended up in the ditch, stay put and call for roadside assistance. Be thankful you packed snacks in your winter emergency kit.
  • If you’re only a little bit stuck — and it’s safe to exit your vehicle — you can get to work with your shovel and sand. Dig out around the tires and pour out some sand or salt for traction.
  • Put the vehicle in its lowest gear and slowly move the car forward and backward to “rock” it out. Causing the tires to spin will just create a slick, icy surface.

If you’re staying home

  • Don’t order food for delivery! They don’t want to be out in the snowstorm for the same reasons you don’t.
  • If you do order food for delivery, tip VERY well. And be patient, because it might take a while.