How to teach someone how to drive in the snow in 30sec flat?

I live in Cleveland in a small ethnic neighborhood. The houses are so close together that often the accompanying driveways are unusable with anything other than your favorite mustang (the horse not the car.) Therefore with the narrow streets and people parked on both sides (most of the roads are one-way for this reason) the snow plows cannot get down to clear the roads. This combined with the nearby college means that people from more hospitable climates are often caught off guard with the road conditions. I have lived here for years and have since developed a new hobby. I put on all my snow gear and grab a 6 pack and head out on to the front porch, waiting for the inevitable slew of stuck drivers who have no clue how to drive in the snow. I then proceed to systematically dig and push them out when they get stuck.

My question to you is how do I impress the importance of not spinning your wheels (60% of these people get re-stuck before reaching the main road), in the thirty seconds I’m talking to them before I start to push. No matter what I tell them they seem to hit a rut and panic by jamming down on the gas and then I must return to free them.

It is also a pain when I must leave for work and the road is blocked by 3 cars. My main goal is to make one snow driver per push… If we all did this then what a wonderful world it would be.


Tell the driver that excessive and high speed wheel spin just kills the car’s transmission and differential. If they keep spinning the wheels they cause damage taking $1,000 to 3,000 dollars to fix. Since they don’t have that kind of money they may stop.

Gentle is always best in snow, a bit of spin is OK but the signal always to back off the gas a bit.

I sense you are fighting a losing battle on this but worth a try. It is also dangerous for you pushing a vehicle with rapidly spinning wheels. It can shoot out debris that can hurt you. If you get caught up in a spinning wheel the potential for serious injury is so prevalent that I’d take my shovel and move on to help someone else and leave them stuck.

    • I put on all my snow gear and grab a 6 pack and head out on to the front porch, waiting for the inevitable slew of stuck drivers who have no clue how to drive in the snow. - -

I’ve been having a lousy couple of days; this made me laugh. Thanks.

This sounds like a lot to tackle in 30 seconds. It sounds to me like these people could use some good winter tires to start with. By the time you extol the virtues of winter tires, you will be out of ti…

Spinning wheels is a valid tactic to keep your momentum up. I used that method with great success with my summer-tire shod Mustang GT a while back when we got some snow and the Bronco was in the shop. With that said if you’re in a situation where your car comes to a stop, all the wheel spin the world won’t move you an inch.

Generally, there’s little you can do other than move them to a different climate until get tired of calling a tow truck or walking home and learn the correct techniques.
Wheel spin has advantages in really deep wet snow to keep tread clear at low speeds and in situations where you can remove light snow to get to traction areas underneath. The neat thing is, you don’t have to know the difference. Be gentle and try not to spin, you car will anyway but not at excessive speeds which can cause more loss of traction.
A poor man’s traction control for older cars to help prevent excessive spin and help reroute torque on open diffs to better traction tires, is to lightly apply brakes on automatics to slow spin rate and re route a little torque. It may often be enough to move. Suggest these people ride the brake a little while accelerating enough just to move forward. But they won’t listen.

That’s a good point. The OP may be enabling these people so they don’t learn. Maybe some tough love is in order to urge them to figure it out.

Driving in snow = walking on ice.
The car = your body.
The tires = your shoes.

It can be done but you have to ‘feel’ it to do it.

Ken Green,
Best reply yet… Anyone who has ended up on their A$$ in the winter will understand that!

And yes I know spinning tires is a valid technique. I was more referring to the people that start their car, or get stuck and immediately jam on the gas violently spinning tires in order to get unstuck. I used to drive a 93 civic and I would PLOW the road with my air dam. I’ve been stuck on this road and I’ve never spun my tires in that manner and I’ve never been stuck for more than 5min.

I had a co-worker who was from India working here on a H1 Visa. He got his drivers license in September and bought a new car in November…By January he already had 3 accidents (luckily they were minor). So after work one day I took him to the parking lot and we spent almost 3 hours there teaching him how to drive in the snow (BEFORE HE KILLED HIMSELF OR SOMEONE ELSE).

When my kids were learning how to drive…I did the same thing…In fact my middle sons birthday is in November and he was eligible to get his license by on his 16th birthday…I refused to let him get his license until he had some winter driving. His only driving experience up til then was NOT on snow.

My father was the same way. I had to keep my temps for an entire year, so I had experience in all sorts of road conditions. He also took my to a Kmart parking lot in january that had a broken water main, and made me start and stop on solid ice for over an hour. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything, I learned a lot that night.

Does anyone else have stories about how they leaned how to drive in the snow? Or about people acting stupid in the snow.

Does anyone else have stories about how they leaned how to drive in the snow? Or about people acting stupid in the snow.

Far too many…I could take up a whole forum just on that topic.

Drive to a hilly area with snow in a 4wd. Put it in 2wd and practice negotiating the terrain. Use 4wd to get home before you run out of gas or learner begins to cry.

Something stupid ? Yearly, not on snow but we live on a lake and I hate to see people drive cars on the ice w/o checking depth. Every other year, we have to pull someone’s car/truck out of our “swimming pool”.

After growing up in Buffalo, the only place I ever drove on ice was in Texas. I was on my way from Austin to Dallas, and I knew when I was approaching the first frozen bridge on I35 because there were cars all over the place. I got off at the next exit, found an empty parking lot, and practiced some maneuvers. I started by doing some donuts and then I practiced stopping, starting, and turning. After about 20 minutes of that, I got back on the road and made it home without incident. It wasn’t until the next morning on my way to work that I bent a rim.