The most recent snowfall of significance in the Phoenix metro area was 1998. A December storm caused the white stuff to cover about half of the northwest valley.
You need to go back to 1933 if you want to talk about receiving accumulations of at least one inch of snow. However, many drivers make their way into the mountains during the winter for skiing and other winter sports. Knowing how to handle winter driving conditions can ensure that you return home safe.
- Drive Slowly
You may need to adjust your speed because of the lower traction levels that the road provides. If you can accelerate lightly and add time for stopping, then it is easier to avoid problematic skids. It always takes longer to get to where you are going when there is snow or ice on the roads.
- Avoid Stopping
The inertia that it takes to get a vehicle moving from a full stop is different than if you can keep rolling slowly. Try to approach stoplights in such a way where you can avoid reaching the intersection until the signal permits you to proceed. If you find yourself on a hill, then avoid stopping at all costs. You may need to keep a set of chains or cables in your car to manage this issue.
- Know Your Brakes
If you drive an older model vehicle, then knowing if you have anti-lock brakes will help you to navigate the winter driving conditions. It helps to keep your heel on the floorboard, using the ball of your foot to apply firm pressure to the pedal to get a good stop. Then remember to brake early, but not often for the best results.
- Have an Emergency Kit
Short drives in winter can during into long excursions. It helps to pack an emergency kit even if you’re only traveling to a destination that’s a bit down the road. Water, warm gloves, blankets, and a first aid kit are essentials to have. A shovel is useful if you get stuck, as are road flares and emergency lights. You might consider bringing jumper cables or a battery quick-start to avoid problems with stalls.
- Bring Cardboard
Winter driving in especially inclement areas may mean putting chains or cables on your tires. The chain-up areas are invariably wet, so pack some cardboard for your trip to avoid getting your clothing wet.
Even if you own an all-wheel-drive vehicle, the technology is not 100% perfect. Relying on it gets people into sticky situations every year in our state. Always take your time when navigating through roads filled with the white stuff, and you’ll find a way to get home safely.