Really, people? It snows here a minimum of five months every year. Every year. There is almost no chance, if you were here the previous winter, you've gone more than six months without driving in the snow. Why are all these cars off the road for the first snow? Because people are idiots. Or at least bad drivers.
And if someone's not off the road because he or she's an idiot, that person's off the road because someone else was being an idiot. So here we go: how to drive in the snow.
Slow down. The biggest problem with driving on the snow and ice? It's slippery. I don't care if you have snow tires, or a ginormous car. If your tires can't find the road because there's something between, you have a chance of slipping. The speed limit is not a guide for how fast you're supposed to drive on the road. The reason your all-weather pickup truck is buried up to the door handles on the side of the road while you wait for a tow truck is that you saw "Speed Limit 45" and said, "OK, cool," while the rest of us were driving 20 (notice who is asking whom if we need to call someone for you).
There's no such thing as a controlled skid. You were taught (or you once heard) that you should steer into a skid. The reason for that is that it makes you feel like you're in control. But you're not. So when you're done with that skid, take a brief moment to get your bearings. You might be on the road facing the right way, but you might be about to drive three inches forward into a ditch. Either way, you're probably not where you intended to be, so take a moment to figure it out and get yourself on the right path, rather than making it worse.
Leave extra space in front of you. No matter how safe you are, someone else is going to be unsafe, and you need to account for that. The going wisdom is that you need to give one car length for every 10 mph you're traveling. You need more than that in the snow, since it takes longer to stop your car suddenly.
We're not all driving big SUVs, so don't drive yours like we are. So you have a GMC Yukon. Made for bad weather and poor driving conditions. Excellent. I'm driving a Hyundai Accent, made for getting me from point A to point B as best it can. So if you can drive 40 mph on Erie Blvd. and I can drive 20 mph, you shouldn't do it behind me. Because eventually it means you're going to have to drive your Yukon over the top of my hatchback. Also, if we're on the highway and you decide to cut me off, remember I need more braking room – so when I wind up in a guardrail, expect I'll have memorized your license plate and you'll be getting a call from your friendly local police department.
Figure in extra time. So you live 10 minutes from work, and usually give yourself 11 minutes so you can climb the stairs when you get there. Leave five minutes early. Seriously, it won't kill you. If you get to work two or three minutes early, no one's going to complain, I promise. If you have to be 50 miles away and you're driving a 65 mph road, it's not going to be moving 65 mph. Figure on taking 75 minutes or more, not 50.
Be patient. That's really the thing, isn't it? Slow down, give extra time and space, be realistic about physics. Yes, you have somewhere to be, but so does everybody else on the road. We're not driving in this crap because it's fun. We're doing it because we need to be someplace.