How Many Inches of Snow Should You Drive In?

Some parts of the country are experiencing the arrival of a nip in the air, and they know it won’t be much longer until snow covers the ground. If you’re new to driving in the snow, you may have questions, such as how many inches of snow you can drive in. Read on to learn more about how best to tackle winter driving, stay safe, and prevent accidents on the road when things get slippery. 

How many inches of snow can you drive in?

A winter forest road covered in snow in Saxony, Rodewisch
A winter forest road covered in snow | Jan Woitas/picture alliance via Getty Images

You wake up one morning, look out the window, and see the ground covered in freshly fallen snow. It’s a beautiful sight, but you may be concerned if you need to get to work or school. How much snow is safe to drive in?

The answer may surprise you. According to How Stuff Works, most people are safe driving in up to 4 inches of snow if they have good snow tires and pay close attention to the road.  What’s more, if you have a vehicle with huge snow tires, you should be able to travel on roads covered in 6 or more inches of snow. Just keep in mind that it’s essential to keep your speed down in the snow, no matter what sort of vehicle you’re driving. 

What are the best winter tires out there?

So you’re ready to hit the road in the snow. The next question is, what sort of winter tires should you buy?  The truth is, you have quite a few great options to choose from. 

First, for drivers of trucks or SUVs, a Consumer Reports top pick is the Bridgestone Blizzak WS90. This winter weather tire has rubber that is specially designed for traction even at very low temps. Consumer Reports also recommends the Cooper Discoverer True North and Hankook Winter I*cept IZ as great winter tires for your truck or SUV.

If it only tends to snow moderately in your area and you can get away with driving on all-season tires, you can save on the expense of having to change your tires twice a year. One of the all-season tires that scores highest for Consumer Reports is the General Altimax RT43, which received scores of “very good” in the categories of hydroplaning, snow traction, and ice-breaking segments. The General Altimax RT43 tends to last around 80,000 miles.

Michelin CrossClimate + tires, meanwhile, won out in the category of “Performance All-Season” tires. They received scores of “very good” in all categories and particularly excel in snow traction, ice braking, and hydroplaning. 

These cars are particularly good in snow

If you’re thinking of purchasing a new vehicle and live in a snowy climate, you’ll undoubtedly want to make a choice that will keep you safe on the road. 

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is one option that should be on anyone’s list if they’re looking for a vehicle to tackle the winter weather. It’s well known for its powerful off-roading capabilities and offers an impressive 707 horsepower engine that will get you where you need to go, even in snowy conditions. 

If an SUV isn’t quite your thing, you might consider checking out the Subaru WRX. This is an excellent choice for anyone who often has to navigate slippery roads. It has a turbocharged 2.0-liter, 268 horsepower boxer-four engine that’s up to almost any winter challenge, in addition to all-wheel drive. 

Finally, if what you have in mind is a little more luxury, one option that might fit the bill is the Volvo V90 Cross Country. It features all-wheel drive, SUV-like ground clearance, and an output of 250 or 316 horsepower, depending on your engine choice. 

Combining the right car with the right tires can make winter driving a safer and more pleasant experience. Next time it snows in your area, if you’re well prepared, you won’t find yourself stuck at home or on the side of the road.

RELATED: Are Snow Tires Useless on All-Wheel Drive Trucks?