Off-roading in the snow can be some of the more fun yet challenging driving you’ll do with your truck of Jeep if you’re not ready for it.
Since you’ll likely end up dealing with a variety of conditions ranging from loose powder or packed snow to wet snowy mud or icy trails, it’s important that your prized off-roading truck or Jeep is prepared to handle them all.
Stay safe when you’re wheeling in the snow by following these great off-road snow driving tips!
Use the Right Tires
When driving off-road in the snow, you’ve got a choice between dedicated snow tires or All-Terrain tires.
Snow tires may be great if you’re only driving on snow; however, if you’ll end up driving on snow-covered or icy trails, melting snow and mud, as well as deep snow all in the same day, A/T tires are probably your best bet.
Bring a set of tire chains with you as well in case the snow is especially deep and you need the added traction to keep from getting stuck.
Know When You Need 4WD or 2WD
It’s easy to assume that when you’re 4-wheeling, you need to be in 4WD.
That’s not always the case when you’re doing it in the snow, especially if you’re going down hills.
Where you’d normally stay in 4WD to creep down descents on dirt, doing so in the snow can cause your vehicle to slide if its weight causes you to lose traction.
Driving downhill in 2WD is safer, reducing the chance you’ll lose control on a descent.
You’ll want to take extra caution climbing and descending hills if your truck has automatic 4WD or traction control and turn those off if possible to retain control and avoid sliding.
Use Careful Braking
Braking too hard is another thing that can cause you to lose your traction in the snow and end up sliding.
Whether you’re going up or down hills, turning, or just driving at speed, heavy braking can interrupt your traction with the snowy surface and cause a slide.
This is another reason why you’ll want to turn off any automatic traction control if you can.
Brake softly and anticipate stopping so you give yourself more stopping distance and when descending hills, easy does it.
Know What To Expect
Whether you’re moving forward, braking, turning, or negotiating trails or obstacles in the snow, slush, or ice, familiarity with your vehicle and how it will react on those surfaces is critical.
Essentially, it’s important that you’re used to what your truck or Jeep will do when you step on the gas or brake in a certain situation so you can anticipate it and control your vehicle as needed, without over or underdoing it.
Practice snow driving in an empty parking lot to get an idea of your vehicle’s sensitivity on snow or ice so you can become familiar and keep control of things on the trail.
Also earn to recognize different types of snow and how each will affect your traction so you can negotiate effectively depending on what type of dusting Mother Nature provides.
Standard Off-Roading Safety Applies
Even though the driving conditions may be different when you head out on a snowy day, you should still practice the same safety practices done any other time you go off-road.
Those include going out with a buddy or two in multiple vehicles, making sure someone’s got a winch, and carrying all the usual recovery gear to be used with it.
Beyond that, bring along spare parts and fluids for your truck or Jeep and cold-weather safety supplies and gear for you and your friends.
Know How to Enjoy Snow Wheeling!
Like all other off-roading activities, success going off-road in the snow is just a matter of knowing how to handle your truck or Jeep.
Different types of snow and different surfaces can be challenging, but a lot of fun, too.
Prepare your vehicle correctly and learn the ins-and-outs of acceleration, braking, turning, and negotiating hills on these slipperier surfaces and you’ll conquer the snow-covered trails for safe wintertime wheeling fun!