Now, some important questions you should ask yourself/Google
How you drive on the road with icy or snowy conditions will vary depending on what kind of car you're in. So before you head out, know your car, and know your conditions. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Is your car RWD, AWD, 4WD, or FWD?
... And do you even know what those mean? For a full explainer on the differences, check this out. Depending on which one your car has, you'll approach situations differently. But the biggest thing to remember is that all-wheel drive does not help you stop faster in the snow. Period.
Do you need to buy special tires?
As a general rule, the stickiest and most badass high-performance tire (sometimes called a summer tire) will be absolutely fantastic during a snowstorm... when set ablaze and used for warmth. A set of all-season tires will do alright, in, well, every season, but if you live in an area where snowblowers are just as common as lawnmowers, you really need a second set of wheels, with tires made specifically for frigid temperatures, snow, and ice.
Is your vehicle front-heavy or back-heavy?
If your car is well balanced, that’s a good thing. But if you’re in a front-heavy pickup truck that only puts power to the rear wheels, you’re going to want to put some weight in back to help with traction. Traditional logic dictates that you should use a big bag of sand or kitty litter, so if you happen to get stuck, you can use it to help get you out, as well.
Do you have electronic stability control, and is it any good?
Some cars have stability systems so advanced you’d have to be downright negligent to get into serious trouble. Others have truly awful systems that cut in too late and too abruptly, and can even make things worse. When they're that bad, some people, myself included, tend to turn them off altogether. No matter what, though, don't turn it off in mixed conditions. Why? Because even the worst systems are forever vigilant. It’s one thing to know the roads are bad, but if you’re cruising along and everything seems fine, you can be lulled into a false sense of security and relax your guard. Hit black ice at that moment, and you’ll be glad the engineers in virtual dungeons in Detroit, Tokyo, or Stuttgart didn’t fail you.
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Aaron Miller is the Cars editor for Thrillist, and can be found on Twitter. The only way out from his childhood neighborhood was up a 30-degree hill leading directly to a busy street. To leave in an ice storm, you had to check that traffic was clear, back up about 50ft, get a running start, and inevitably spin once you reached the top.