Beyond Thunderdome: Tips for Driving in the Snow

So it snows in Utah. Like, A LOT. Often. And in tremendous quantities.

Inevitably, we will have a dramatic storm that dumps like a foot of snow and everybody will need to get to the same place at the same time and traffic will snarl to a halt.

Hundreds of angry drivers who needed a glass of wine an hour ago, all waiting, waiting, spinning, honking, waiting. Here are my top tips for maneuvering this frosty jungle.


1. Practice survival skills. Pack snacks, gear, water, phone charger and a shovel in your car. Best case: your commute takes more time and more focused driving and you don’t want to be hangry or road-ragey. Worst case: you get stuck in a snowbank and have to wait for a rescue which could take hours. Outlier case: zombies strike in our moment of weakness and you will be mighty happy to have granola bars and a shovel.
TipsForDrivinginSnow_04 (snacks!)

2. Know your car. If you have all-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive, use it. If you drive a truck without a shell load up the back with sandbags for weight. Find a parking lot full of snow and practice your rally driving in it. Figure out how your 4WD system works. Also use good, aggressive-tread tires or snow tires and DO NOT wait until the night of the first big storm or else you’ll be bribing tire techs to stick around to 8 PM and get you fixed up. And when in doubt, shift down down, down.
TipsForDrivinginSnow_05 (4wdomg)

3. Reconnaissance. Download the UDOT app AND DO NOT USE IT WHILE DRIVING. You can view all of their traffic cameras and plot out the best route for you to drive to victory. You can also follow them on Twitter for emergency updates. Twitter is also my favorite tool for up-to-the-minute crowdsourced news. Just search for, say, “Parley’s Canyon” before you set off and see what your traveling compatriots have to say.

4. Stay full. Do not let your fuel level drop below half a tank. Running out of gas in a snowpacked traffic jam is how the Donner party met their fate. Probably.

5. And also empty. Stuck in a snowy traffic jam is the worst possible time to have to, well, you know. Use the facilities before you leave. Anywhere.

Every time.




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