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Winter Driving Tips

Ways to Drive Safely on Snowy Roads

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Winter Driving Tips

Winter Driving Tips

Four-wheel drive systems are helpful options, but they aren't cure-all for winter driving problems. It's important to become familiar with a few 4x4 driving basics before you tackle snowy roads.

Always Drive on Matching Tires

Tires that differ in circumference can create handling problems and possible damage to a truck's driveline (all of the time, not just in snow). That's true for full-time and part-time four-wheel drive vehicles, as well as all-wheel drive vehicles.

Take it Easy... Slow Down for Curves

If you try to take a curve too fast on snowy roads, the truck's front wheels can corkscrew, causing the vehicle to go straight instead of turning. Let up on the gas to correct the problem.

Putting it in 2WD Might Work Better Downhill

If you're moving slowly downhill in a low gear, allowing the engine to help slow you, the momentum of the truck can make the front wheels slide, causing a loss of control. Shifting into 2WD keeps the front wheels rolling but helps the rear wheels slow the truck.

Monitor the Truck's Traction Control Systems

A traction control system can bring the truck to a stop if the tires start spinning when you are trying to motivate up a snowy hill -- that's a normal side effect of traction control.

Turn off traction control if possible. If that's not an option, increase your speed to gain momentum (but don't go so fast that you lose control).

Understand the Limitations of a 4WD System

Four-wheel drive helps get you moving in snow, but it does not help you stop. Slow down - a slick surface requires more stopping distance, no matter what type of vehicle you're driving.

If you can, take your truck to a snowy (but empty) parking lot to practice maneuvering on a slick surface.

Related:

Prep Tires and Brakes for Winter Driving

Do You Need a Set of Snow Tires

How and When to Operate Your 4WD System

Winterize Your Truck

How to Choose a Battery for Your Pickup Truck

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