The majority of the millions of visitors who make their way to Southern Utah each year head to the region during the summer months. This means dealing with triple-digit temperatures and enjoying plenty of sunshine, with only the very occasional rainy day.

But if you’re thinking about visiting in the “off-season,” you’re in for a very different experience.

Winter is a great time to visit Utah. Whether you want to hit the ski slopes or enjoy popular destinations like Zion National Park with fewer crowds and cooler temperatures, winter is a great time to visit. 

While snow isn’t a guarantee in all of Southern Utah, winter weather can make the mountainous roads treacherous, especially for visitors who aren’t used to those types of conditions, or for those driving rental cars they aren’t entirely comfortable in.

If you’re planning a visit this winter, keep reading. We’re bringing you the winter driving tips you need to safely navigate Southern Utah’s wet, snowy, and icy roads.

Bring an Ice Scraper

If you aren’t from somewhere that sees snow each year, there’s one piece of winter gear that you likely won’t think to pack; an ice-scraper.

An ice scraper will allow you to safely clear away ice and snow from your windows before you climb behind the wheel. Pack an ice scraper in your suitcase, or plan to purchase one as soon as you arrive. 

Before you leave your tiny home vacation rental for the day, take the time to clear all of your windows, not just the front window. You’ll need your back and side windows cleared as well so that you can safely see other vehicles and any obstacles around you.

Slow It Down

Whether you have experience driving on winter roads or not, the best thing that you can do is to slow down.

If you’re unfamiliar with roads, unsure of whether the road is slick, or nervous about driving in snow and sleet, slowing down ensures that you’ll have more time to spot hazards and to slow down if things get slick.

When you need to get somewhere at a certain time, plan to leave extra early. That way you can take your time on the roads and won’t be tempted to speed up to avoid being late.

Learn What to Do If You Do Slide

One essential skill you should learn before you drive on winter roads is what to do if your car does begin to slide. 

Here is a quick overview of what to do if you feel your car begin to slide on snow, rain, sleet, or ice:

  • Keep your foot off the brake. While it will be tempting to bring your car to a stop, hitting the brakes will only make your car slide more.
  • Instead of braking, slowly lift your foot off the accelerator.
  • Don’t jerk your steering wheel, even if you’re headed in the wrong direction. Instead, turn your wheel slowly in the direction that you’re sliding.
  • If your car is still sliding after several seconds, very gently begin pressing the break. Keep your foot light as you gently try to bring your car to a stop. 

Avoid Distractions

Avoiding distractions like your phone, eating, or the radio while you drive will help you pay more attention to the road. This will increase the chances of spotting ice and other hazards ahead of you.

Check Your Tire Pressure

Lower temperatures outside mean that your tire pressure will be lower as well. For this reason, before you head out on a road trip or scenic drive, you’ll want to inflate your tires. Check with your car and individual tire’s recommendations for tire pressure, though most tires require a tire pressure of between 30 and 35 psi.

Consider Adding Tire Chains

If you know that you’ll be driving on icy or snowy roads during your visit to Southern Utah, consider using tire chains. These attach to your existing tires and help to give you traction on slick roads. If you’re renting a car, ask the rental company whether they offer tire chains as an add-on. Otherwise, you can pick these up at most auto supply stores.

Always Fill Your Tank and Pack Supplies

Before setting off in wintery conditions, fill your tank with gas and pack a few emergency supplies, like warm clothes, snacks, and bottled water. This will ensure that you’re prepared if you find yourself stuck in the snow.

Planning a Winter Visit to Southern Utah

If you’re planning a winter visit to Southern Utah, you might find yourself navigating icy, wet roads at some point. These tips will help you stay safe and confident while behind the wheel.

Ready to plan your next visit to Southern Utah? Book your stay at The Dwellings today for the perfect cozy basecamp for your trip.