5 Common Mistakes You Should Avoid While Driving in the Snow


Driving Too Fast

A snow day is no time to play Kasey Kahne.
A snow day is no time to play Kasey Kahne.

Driving too fast is the biggest snow driving error [source: Dunlop]. Drivers have a bad habit of thinking that once they've reached the highway they're fine to drive at their usual high speed. Wrong.

When your car starts to slip and you're heading for a crash, every second counts. Driving too fast reduces the amount of time you have to react and increases the severity of any collision. It also takes four to 10 times longer to brake on icy or snowy pavement than it does on dry asphalt [source: De Paula].

You should slow your speed when the temperature is close to freezing and sleet and snow have begun to fall. Remember that there's no right speed zone to be traveling in when it's snowing, so you need to pay close attention to the road conditions and how your car is handling to gauge a safe speed.

For more great tips on driving in difficult conditions and handling snow, click on to the next page.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Aaltonen Motorsport. "Our ideas of driving." (accessed on 1/7/10)http://www.aaltonenmotorsport.com/our_ideas_of_driving
  • DeMere, Mac. "Driving on Snow and Ice: 10 Safety Tips." Edmunds.com. (accessed on 1/7/10)http://www.edmunds.com/ownership/safety/articles/124638/article.html
  • De Paula, Matthew. "Surviving Winter Driving." Msn.com. (accessed on 1/7/10)http://editorial.autos.msn.com/listarticle.aspx?cp-documentid=1111217
  • Dunlop, Neil. "How to Drive in the Snow." Edmunds.com. (accessed on 1/7/10)http://www.edmunds.com/ownership/howto/articles/45193/article.html
  • Eisenberg, Daniel, Kenneth E. Warner. "Effects of Snowfall on Motor Vehicle Collisions, Injuries, and Fatalities." American Journal of Public Health. Vo. 95. no. 1 January 2005. (accessed on 1/14/10)http://ajph.aphapublications.org/cgi/reprint/95/1/120.pdf
  • Elliott, Hannah. "Ten Deadly Mistakes of Winter Driving." Forbes. Jan. 9, 2009. (accessed on 1/7/10)http://www.forbes.com/2009/01/09/winter-driving-tips-forbeslife-cx_he_0109cars.html
  • National Safety Council. "Winter Driving Hints." May 2005. (accessed on 1/14/10)http://www.nsc.org/members_get_more/MemberResources/Documents/Winter%20Driving%20Hints.pdf
  • New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. "Drivers Manual and Study Guide." 2010. (accessed on 1/14/10)http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/DMANUAL/DEFAULT.HTML
  • Road and Travel Magazine. "All-Weather Driving Tips." (accessed on 1/14/10)http://www.roadandtravel.com/safetyandsecurity/2005/all-weather.htm


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