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How to Drive in Snow Country - Advice to the Drivers from Large Cities

I was reading about the local ski areas and found an interesting article on driving in the snow.  Although written for the mountains of Fukushima Prefecture and Northern Japan it is universally applicable.  Article from     Slides from

Not experts at driving on a snow-covered road:
  Drivers in a snow country never defy snow. They avoid accidents not because they have good driving ability but because they drive with an awareness that they cannot defeat snow. That is, they prevent the car from slipping by driving within every limit. It is not how to cope with it if the car skids, but how to drive to avoid skidding that you have to bear in mind.
Snow-covered roads are slippery:
  If you know that snow-covered roads are slippery, you cannot burst off at speeds, slam on the brakes, or make a sudden turn of the steering wheel. It is not enough for you only to know that. Try to brake suddenly on a road with snow on it after confirming that there is no car both in front and behind (preferably in a large empty parking lot). You will learn with a frightening experience that the brake only stops the rotation of wheels and the steering wheel only changes the direction of them.
Don't overestimate hardware:
  Four-wheel-drive cars are in fashion these days. But don’t rely on hardware alone on a snow-covered road. What really counts is software. Even in a snow country taxis are not 4WD. Taxi drivers can drive safely with their superior software & knowledge of how to deal with snow. You can buy 4WD cars with money, but not carefulness and experience.
Don't save money on tires:
  You are wrong if you think you are safe as long as you drive a 4WD car disregarding tires. It costs much less to buy studless tires than a 4WD car. How come one who spends money on a deluxe car whose repair cost for a single bump would be a few thousand dollars saves a few hundred dollars to buy winter tires? We, snow country people, cannot understand it.
Don't stop the wheels to rotate:
  Under any circumstances don't stop the wheels to rotate, not to mention braking suddenly. If the wheels stop revolving, the block patterns clogg up causing the car to go out of control & the tires will start to slide like a sleigh and you cannot either stop the car or control the way the car is going. If you are at a curve the car will surely spin. The car is controllable as long as the wheels are in motion. On a downhill or before an intersection use the engine as a brake by putting the car into lower gear if the car is a manual transmission, and in second or low gear if the car is automatic. It is not rare that we anxiously see a car with a city license plate going down the slopes with brake lights flashing on and off constantly.
Don't put on tire chains on a slope:
  It is dangerous to be lazy and not put on tire chains and try to go up a hill without them. Firstly, avoid parking the car on a slippery slope or you may be hit by another car slipping down uncontrolled. Secondly, you are likely to cause a backup to trouble other drivers. Don't have the following cars stop on an upgoing hill. Once you stop on a slippery slope you can hardly start to climb the hill again. Thirdly, it is much easier to put chains on on level groud than on a slope. If the cars on the opposite lane are on tire chains, it’s a sign of snow on the road ahead of you. That’s when you should put on tire chains.
Listen to local drivers:
  A car may be a status symbol for city people. But for those in a snow country a car is something like shoes or boots. An older farmer in a light truck is better at getting through the snow than city folks in deluxe sports cars. Local drivers have the know-how for driving on the snow - know-how which they gained from years of experience. It is the local people who know about dangerous spots, items useful in the snow, and tricks to get out of trouble. Above all they are the ones who help you out when you are stuck in the snow. Listen to the people at a gas station, hotel or inn, or parking lot for advice and you will be safer.