AutoTalk; Winter Driving: What You Need To Know

Zach Benedict, Beacon Blogger, AutoTalk Host

I hope that everyone is having a great semester! I know for sure that I am! With all the snow that we’ve had recently, I thought it would be a good idea to write a blog on what you can do to make sure you are driving the best you can in this winter weather.

1. Tires are everything!

Your tires are the key between you and the road. Getting the right brand and style of tires are the most important thing you can do to ready yourself for the snowy trends of Northeast Pennsylvania. Brands such as Goodyear, Bridgestone, Firestone, GT Radial, and the other high-end tires are the best. Yes they are expensive, but you DON’T have to buy new tires! Look for a reputable used tire shop. Used tire shops offer great brand of tires at very low prices. All-season tires will work good. Snow tires are the best option, but all-season tires are a viable option. Cheap brand of tires are not good in the winter season. They aren’t built to the high level of precision and quality as the more expensive tires.

2. Know your transmission!

This section applies to automatics. If you have a manual, the same basic principles apply. If you know that you are going to be driving in inclement weather, shift your transmission into the lowest gear you can. It will be an on your shift indicator. Your car is strongest in the lowest gear, and can climb up steep inclines, and travel through the snow with little effort. If your going to be on a main road, shift your car into the gear just below D. On older cars, this will typically be 4, 3, etc. On newer cars, it might just be L. If you just have L, you can skip to the next session. If you have a number, shift into that number and when you hit 45 MPH, shift into drive. It will assure maximum power to your car, and maximum traction.

3. Slow down!

I’m sure your parents told you not to drive fast. To some people, it’s fun. If I know that the person is a good driver, I am okay with it. This may seem like a common sense thing, but some people still have their cars throttle wide open going down a snow covered road. Keeping a safe speed will protect you. DOT sets a lower speed limit on main roads and highways for a reason. Winter days are not the right time to have the pedal to the metal.

4. AWD / 4WD

Some people ask about the difference between all wheel drive (AWD) or four wheel drive (4WD, 4X4, etc.) Four wheel drive is meant to be used at low speeds and climbing steep inclines. All wheel drive is best for driving in the snow. In AWD, the tires sense the amount of traction and adjust which wheel is actually “driven”. In 4WD, all the wheels are being “driven”. This may sound ideal, but it’s not. If you travel at speeds in excess of 45 MPH, you risk rolling your vehicle right off the road. You should only use 4X4 on back roads that are snow covered. Traveling around 20 MPH.


Drive safe this winter, and don’t become a statistic.


Be sure to tune into AutoTalk every Thursday from 11-noon on 90.7 WCLH. You can catch AutoTalk TV on WilkesNow every weeknight at 7:30 PM on Service Electric Channel 97, and live every Tuesday at noon. Follow us on Facebook at AutoTalk WCLH- 90.7 FM, and on YouTube and Instagram at AutoTalkWCLH.