Tips for Driving in a Whiteout

When freshly fallen snow and wind combine you get what is referred to as a whiteout. This condition may create a situation where the snow completely blocks your view of the road. When blowing snow is forecast, only drive when absolutely necessary and with extreme caution. We have some tips for you if you must drive in blowing snow and whiteout conditions.

Before you drive – and during your trip – check weather forecasts and road reports often. If there is a weather warning, or reports of poor visibility and driving conditions, delay your trip until conditions improve, if possible. If you get caught driving in blowing snow or a whiteout, follow these safe driving tips:

DO:

  • Slow down gradually and drive at a speed that suits the conditions.
  • Make sure your lights are fully operational and on.
  • Be patient. Avoid passing, changing lanes and crossing traffic.
  • Increase your following distance. You will need extra space to brake safely.
  • Stay alert. Keep looking as far ahead as possible.
  • Reduce the distractions in your vehicle. Your full attention is required.
  • Keep your windows and mirrors clean. Use defroster and wipers to maximize your vision.
  • Try to get off the road when visibility is near zero. Pull into a safe parking area if possible.

DON’T:

  • Don’t stop on the travelled portion of the road. You could become the first link in a chain-reaction collision.
  • Don’t attempt to pass a vehicle moving slowly or speed up to get away from a vehicle that is following too closely.

REMEMBER:

  • Watch your speed. You may be going faster than you think. If so, reduce speed gradually.
  • Leave a safe braking distance between you and the vehicle ahead.
  • Stay alert, remain calm and be patient.
  • If visibility is decreasing rapidly, do not stop on the road. Look for an opportunity to pull off the road into a safe parking area and wait for conditions to improve.
  • If you become stuck or stranded in severe weather, stay with your vehicle for warmth and safety until help arrives. Open a window slightly for ventilation. Run your motor sparingly. Use your emergency flashers.
  • Be prepared and carry a winter driving survival kit that includes items such as warm clothing, non-perishable energy foods, flashlight, shovel and blanket.

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Pacific Driver Education LLC, Auto Driving School, Gresham, OR