Car workshop
0 View
Article Rating
1 звезда2 звезды3 звезды4 звезды5 звезд

Is it worse to drive in snow or ice?

Is it better to drive right when it starts snowing — or after it stops?

The short answer is that snow driving safety involves paying attention to a variety of factors

[month] [day], [year], [hour]:[minute][ampm] [timezone]
SHARE Is it better to drive right when it starts snowing — or after it stops? CLOSE

A motorist drives as snow is piled high in Suncrest in Draper on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

By the time I made it to the office break room, I’d started to calm down. The hour-long drive — twice the length of my normal commute — in snow and ice hadn’t been easy, but I took comfort knowing the roads would probably only get worse as the morning went on.

It was smart to hit the road right when the snow started coming down, I thought. But at least during that particular storm, I was wrong.

A coworker who lived near me opened my eyes to my error a few hours after my morning commute. She’d arrived at the office around 11:00 a.m. since she had stayed home until the snow stopped falling.

I told her about my stressful experience and asked how her commute had been. To my surprise, she described totally clear roads and an easy drive.

That morning made me rethink my old assumptions about snow driving safety and accept that there’s no one-size-fits-all-storms approach. I’ve discovered that driving experts recommend taking a variety of factors under consideration before hitting the road on a snowy day. (They also recommend staying home if at all possible.)

Now, if I have to drive on a snowy day, I do plenty of research before I grab my car keys. Snow driving is still no fun, but these days I’m a little less embarrassed to talk about my commute in the break room.

Snow driving safety tips

Road conditions vary widely from snow storm to snow storm, so the strategy that works one day may not work the next. That’s why driving experts recommend staying on your toes and tracking weather forecasts and road reports closely.

Is Planck time the speed of light?

Additionally, they recommend stocking your car with various safety items so that you’re prepared regardless of what happens on your road. For example, AAA suggests keeping warm clothes, blankets, snacks, water bottles and medications in your car during the winter.

Once your car is packed, it’s time to do a little research. Here are factors to consider when you’re trying to figure out the timing of your snow drive:

Weather forecast

This point may be obvious, but before you hit the road during a snow storm it’s important to know how much snow is expected to accumulate and over what period of time. That information is what enables you to figure out if it’s even possible for you to wait until the snow stops falling to start your drive.

Knowing the forecast is also helpful if it starts snowing when you’re already out and about. If you’re contemplating heading home early from the office, it’s good to know whether what you’re seeing out the window is a short flurry (in which case you’re probably safe to keep working) or the beginning of a big storm (in which case you may want to grab your coat and get moving).


Wind is another factor to consider as you plan a trip in snowy weather. Wind can make even light snow more dangerous, since it can cause snow from past storms to blow across the road.

Like snow totals, wind predictions are included in weather reports on sites like If a snow storm won’t end until after the wind is expected to pick up, it may be best to drive while the snow is still falling.

Time of day

In general, snow driving is easier to manage during the daytime than at night, especially if road ice could become a factor. When weather forecasts show that the snow isn’t expected to stop until the evening, it’s probably best to finish your drive earlier in the day.

Can you be a pilot if you wear glasses?

Road conditions

Last but not least, check road conditions before you get in the car. Even before it snows, you can figure out which websites or news stations offer road reports so that your research is easy to do on the day of the storm.

In some states, government officials help track and spread the word about road conditions on state-run websites. For example, is managed by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

What’s More Dangerous to Drive In–Rain or Snow? A New Study Sheds Light

While neither is without risk, most drivers assume that driving in snow is more dangerous than driving in rain. After all, a build up of snow changes the composition of the road, falling snowflakes make it hard to see, and some cars don’t even start in cold weather.

However, a study by

has found that rain is the most dangerous condition , with mild southern states recording far more fatal winter crashes than snowy northern ones.

Read on to learn more about the study, and we’ll share a few
driving tips
to help keep you safe this winter season.
What does the winter-related crash study show?
Jerry’s data team

analyzed NHTSA crash data from 2005 through 2019, looking at weather-related accidents in the months of December, January, and February.

Surprisingly, the three states with the most fatal winter crashes per 100,000 residents are Mississippi (72.57), Alabama (61.08), and Louisiana (56.10), three places which see very little snowfall. In fact, 9 of the 10 states with the most winter crashes are located in the South or Southwest.

Conversely, 7 of the 10 states with the least number of fatal winter crashes are located in the Northeast, a region which gets a lot of snow each year. The three safest states are Massachusetts (16.84 fatal crashes per 100,000 residents), Rhode Island (17.71) and New York (18.34).

What happens if you return a financed car?

If snow is so dangerous, why do mild southern states have up to four times as many fatal winter crashes as their snowy northern counterparts?

Everything You Need in Your Winter Emergency Car Kit
Why does rain cause more fatal crashes than snow?

While northern states get more snow than southern ones, they get less winter precipitation in general.

Northeastern snow storms come in short, sharp bursts. And once roads have been cleared, it’s not unusual for there to be an extended dry period, during which time driving conditions are relatively safe.

Conversely, in the South, it can rain and drizzle for weeks on end—drivers can’t just sit at home and wait it out.

Additionally, studies show that drivers perceive rain to be less dangerous than snow .

This, “it’s just rain” attitude, causes many people to drive too fast, underestimating the risks associated with hydroplaning and reduced braking distances.

Snow offers a very visual reminder to drivers to slow down and modify driving behaviour in order to avoid skidding or losing control.

Tips for driving during winter months
Staying Safe While Driving in Snow

Whether you live in a state that has a cold and snowy winter climate, or someplace with a mild and rainy one, make sure you know how to drive in bad weather.

During heavy rain:

Reduce your speed to shorten stopping distance, and ensure you have more time to react to a car braking in front of you.

If your car begins hydroplaning (gliding over top of surface water), take your foot off the gas, and carefully steer in the direction you want to go.

When does a big puddle become a pond? If you have to ask this question, find a different route. Driving through a deep puddle can jeopardize your car’s electrical system.

If you have to drive through a big puddle, tap the brake pedal afterwards to help dry the rotors.

Stay close to the middle of the lane. Roads often slope downwards at the sides to help with water run-off.

Can a car wash mess up your alternator?

Turn your headlights on, but avoid high beams because they can reflect rain droplets, further reducing visibility.

Which is more dangerous, icy roads or icy roads with snow on top?

Where I live, we are about to get a bunch of snow (5”-8”). This has brought about the question of which is more dangerous an icy road or an icy road with snow? Does the snow help traction on the ice, or does it make it worse?

9,579 2 2 gold badges 35 35 silver badges 65 65 bronze badges
asked Nov 26, 2019 at 20:20
733 5 5 silver badges 19 19 bronze badges

Not sure about the physics part here (which is probably also depending on the direction of sliding, tires (spikes or not) and whether your ABS is active) I would consider ice with some snow as more dangerous as you can no longer see icy patches

Nov 26, 2019 at 20:53

It probably also depends on the depth of the snow. A thin covering will be more dangerous than a thick one, as you’ll be effectively on the ice itself, and it may be hard to tell how thick the snow is at any one place anyway.

Nov 26, 2019 at 22:07
It likely also depends on your mode of transport: foot, ski, cycle, or motor vehicle?
Nov 28, 2019 at 17:20

Good points are being made all around, but keep in mind that 1 rule does not fit all cases. Snow and ice both take on many shapes, sizes, and consistencies which have different properties. Your mileage may vary a lot.

Dec 4, 2019 at 18:55

3 Answers 3

Sorted by: Reset to default

Both are dangerous, and as James says both require drivers to be extra cautious and adjust their driving. However from my experience living in Alberta, Canada where we spend ~5 months of the year in the snow with temperatures as low as -25C ice with snow on top is more dangerous.

Does driving count steps?

Ice with snow on top once your vehicle begins to slide your tires are not in direct contact with the ice and you have only the friction between the snow and the ice to rely on rather than the friction from your tires and the ice. Additionally snow on top of the ice can hide ruts in the ice that you may otherwise have a better chance of seeing and anticipating, if your tires hit these ruts at higher speed or in a lighter vehicle you may find your vehicle being thrown the side.

answered Nov 27, 2019 at 16:44
BKlassen BKlassen
750 5 5 silver badges 12 12 bronze badges

The roads are not the danger, the drivers on the road are the danger!

Think about your question inversely (antonym); «Which is safer, icy roads or icy roads with snow on top?»

It is not the presence or lack of ice/snow that creates the danger/safety, it is how the driver responds to the presence of the snow/ice. For example, drivers with 4×4 trucks occasionally believe the four wheel drive makes driving on snow and ice safer, and it does. Except when the 4×4 driver starts driving too fast for conditions, and crashes.

The biggest danger is not adjusting your driving for conditions.

Which leads us to black ice this ice can develop on roads and be difficult or impossible to see. Any road condition that is not apparent to the driver is going to be the most dangerous.

So given your question, (black) ice is more dangerous than (white) snow. But even this can be anticipated and adjusted for. If there is moisture and road temperatures below freezing adjust your driving for slippery roads.

Lastly, Aquaplaning or hydroplaning is just as dangerous in warm weather as ice and snow in cold weather.

Ссылка на основную публикацию