The PONY'TUDE Guide To Driving In Winter Weather

Motorists of the North East United States: Please learn to drive. 
It's March.

You'd think that by now the motorists of Pennsylvania and New Jersey would have figured out how to drive in the snow, ice, and slush.

They have not.

And so I present to you my winter driving tips and tricks. I'm no champion race car driver, but I do know how to drive in bad conditions, and I'd like to share my wisdom with you all. Don't be that moron that gets stuck in a ditch.

  1. Drive an appropriate vehicle. If your only option is a low-slung sportscar or something with rear-wheel drive, just stay home when the weather's bad. The best option is a truck or SUV with four-wheel drive, but you can get around just fine in an average front-wheel drive sedan with decent tires. 
  2. DON'T PANIC. Seriously. Just chill out. If you feel your car start to slip or fishtail, TAKE YOUR FOOT OFF THE PEDAL. Any pedal. Do not touch the pedals! If you panic and mash the gas OR the brakes, your car will probably spin out and you will be the moron in a ditch. Once the car straightens itself out, gently accelerate and go on your merry way. 
  3. Along the same lines... slow and steady wins the race. Don't make any big moves when conditions are slippery. Accelerate and brake gradually. If you don't, please see the above re: moron in a ditch. 
  4. When it comes to steep snow-covered hills, go slowly and DON'T STOP. Your momentum is what keeps your vehicle climbing the hill, and if you come to a complete stop, you may not be able to get going again. This makes everyone behind you really upset. So please, when faced with snowy hills, just keep going! 
  5. If you have four-wheel drive, good for you! Don't use it on roads that are only wet or a little slushy - this is bad for your vehicle. 4WD is, however, a great help in deep snow or slush when you need some extra traction. But 4WD does not give you the permission to drive like a complete jerk. If you go flying down the road above the speed limit in slippery conditions, even with 4WD you WILL end up... the Moron In A Ditch.
  6. Take it easy and take your time. Trying to drive your normal speed in snow, slush, and ice is counter-productive and just plain stupid. Accept the fact that you'll get there when you get there, and don't go so fast that you feel your vehicle is on the verge of being out of your control. 
  7. When getting out of a parking space covered in ice/snow/slush (i.e. generally anywhere you happen to park on a farm), be gentle on the gas pedal. Anything more than a love tap can result in your tires spinning uselessly on the ice, so be patient and pull out gradually, allowing your tires to grip what they can. 
  8. If you truly do not feel confident in your abilities to navigate winter road conditions, just stay home! Better safe than sorry. 
This has been The PONY'TUDE Guide To Driving In Winter Weather. What are your best winter driving tips?


  1. Lol I would like to extend this how-to manual to my fellow Marylanders as well :) tho I have to admit I made the stopping on a hill mistake earlier this week w my rig. Pulled into the driveway and opted not to go into 4wd. Regretted it on the middle of a hill and had to stop and switch. Then alllllmost didn't make it up again, even in 4wd haha

  2. Winter tires. Winter tires. Winter tires. All seasons are just crap. Spend the money and be safe.

    When I was learning to drive, my parents took me to parking lots and let me do some small stupid things in snow so that I could learn how to handle them, like the way you should steer when you're skidding, and how NOT to handle the brakes. I think everyone should experiment, in a safe and controlled way, with their own car and the snow. Once you've built in those instincts you're a vastly better winter driver.

    If you're driving a rear wheel drive OR a large truck, put weight in the back. Especially for the truck. It makes a huuuuuuge difference in how it handles - instead of just spinning around it pushes the tires down and gives you some grip.

    1. GREAT advice!! My Honda Civic currently has the Crappiest Tires Ever, and I actively avoid driving it and take the truck when it snows. But I LOVE how you got to practice snow driving - that's invaluable.

  3. Ahaha! Yes! Please! I've seen so many road-condition related accidents recently. It's so dumb. Can I add?

    1. Good tires, good tires, good tires!
    2. 4WD will not help you stop. Keep that in mind and plan accordingly. Do not drive faster than you can stop.
    3. If you are slipping, put your car into neutral. If you have the car in gear, the engine is still putting a pull on you forward. Do yourself a favor, and take all movement out of the equation. Putting my car in neutral has saved me on many occasions (and is one of the reasons I prefer driving a manual transmission in the snow!)
    4. Remember the laws of gravity. If you're on a downhill, assume you won't be able to stop. Just assume that, and work with it. If you do stop, thank god and move on.
    5. Tail gating is bad. My dogs ride in the back of my car. I love my dogs. I will kill you if you smash them. My dogs are adorable. No jury would convict me.

  4. Love this! Luckily I've been able to avoid snow for a while :)

  5. You are amazing, yes to all of that! Wet rotten haybales and sandbags in the back of trucks are my friend.

  6. Amen! I grew up in New England and went to school in upstate NY, so my Jeep and I feel pretty good in the snow. Then I moved to VA, where everyone a) panics and goes 2 mph in the left lane b) doesn't change driving habits and continues to careen about the roadways c) a creative combination of a and b. It's ridiculous.

  7. Great post! This needs to be published in the newspaper or something.

  8. I vote just stick to #8. Nobody leave their house ever. They're all idiots on the road.

  9. I think #2 is the most important and definitely NOT what Texans tend to do.

  10. YES.

    I think it was Denmark or Norway or some European northern-ish country that had a short-lived PSA on panicking on the road whilst driving. It was:

    Don't Jerk and Drive.


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