How to Drive an Automatic Car in Snow

Written by charlie gaston
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How to Drive an Automatic Car in Snow
If you have an automatic car, you can follow a few key tips that will make driving in snow a little easier. (snow image by Aleksandr Himcenko from

Driving hazards can range from poor road conditions to harsh weather and vehicles that have not been properly serviced. While a driver cannot control the first two hazards, he can control how prepared his vehicle is to drive in the snow. He also can learn how to better control his car on icy roads. If you have an automatic car, you can follow a few key tips that will make driving in snow a little easier.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Have your car serviced before winter begins. Request preventive maintenance and have the battery, windshield wipers and tires checked.

  2. 2

    Drive the automatic car slowly, applying light pressure to the brake pedal. If the car is equipped with anti-lock brakes, the anti-lock brake system will allow you to regain steering control if the brake fails.

  3. 3

    Learn how to get out of a skid. If your automatic car loses control and starts to spin or skid across a sheet of ice, remove your foot from both the brake and accelerators. While instinct may urge you to press down on the brake pedal, doing so will cause the car to spin more rapidly and cause you to lose control of the car. Instead, turn the steering wheel toward the direction the car is spinning and wait until the car slows to regain control of the vehicle.

  4. 4

    Use defensive driving techniques and maintain a safe distance from other vehicles on the road. Always drive 5 to 10 miles per hour slower than the recommended speed limit and start to brake at least 200 meters before approaching a traffic light that is transitioning from yellow to red or when approaching a stop sign. It is better to drive through a yellow light that is changing than to press hard on the brake pedal and possibly send the car out of control.

  5. 5

    Gain control of the vehicle if it begins to slip or continue moving while stopped. Put an automatic car in the neutral position. This will allow you to regain control and push out of the slippery section of road.

Tips and warnings

  • Coast down steep hills and proceed with caution.
  • Buy snow tires for added safety.

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