Skip to Content

Can I Use Snow Mode On Icy Roads?

Vehicles equipped with snow mode work to give the driver better traction and control when driving through wintery conditions. But does this technology fare well on the ice? We researched this feature from multiple professional sources, so you'll know what it can do.

Snow mode can be engaged to help the driver navigate any slick surfaces on a roadway. In the snow, ice, or rain, snow mode will give the vehicle much better traction so that it can be guided more safely through the elements.

Now that we know that snow mode can be used on icy roads, we'll look closely at how this feature works. You might also wonder how fast you should drive in snow mode or if you can shift into snow mode while driving.

Before you continue reading, let us say we hope you find the links here useful. If you purchase something through a link on this page, we may get a commission, so thank you!

For the answers to these questions and more, read ahead in this post to see what our research has uncovered.

How snow mode works to give you a better driving experience in winter weather

Engaging the snow mode button in your vehicle enhances your ability to maneuver through slick roadways. If you've ever driven on snowy streets, you'll probably recall how the tires can spin at times, desperate to gain some traction.

This spinning is not only damaging to your tires but will also increase the chances of getting stuck or losing control of the vehicle.

Snow mode will allow the vehicle to sense when a tire is spinning. When this happens, it reduces the torque to its wheel and transfers it to the other tires. This helps to pull the vehicle away from the source of the spinning tires and lets the driver retain control.

Snow mode will work on slick roads, not just ones blanketed with snow. You can use this mode when it's icy out or even when the pavement is slick from a good rain. If your vehicle has it equipped, it's turned off and on by the push of a button.

How fast can I drive in snow mode?

When the roads are slippery from the elements, it's time to engage the vehicle's snow mode. While it's being used, you might think that this technology will limit how fast your vehicle can be driven. But our research shows that this isn't the case.

Multiple online forums dedicated to owners across all models with snow mode state that snow mode is only for traction control.

When your vehicle has snow mode activated, it will do nothing to slow the vehicle down or keep you from accelerating it to any speed. While the technology doesn't slow you down, perhaps the inclement weather should.

This post will cover some handy tips for driving in the snow and ice. For now, know that just because you can drive at normal speeds with snow mode doesn't mean that you necessarily should.

Can I shift into snow mode while I'm driving?

Snow mode can be activated by simply pushing a single button. Once activated, it will sense whenever a tire begins to spin helplessly against a slick surface and shift its torque to the other wheels.

The good news is that you can turn it on whenever the vehicle is in motion.

The weather sometimes will begin to get dicey in the middle of your journey. Slick conditions can be driven into, making the need to change to snow mode quickly, often without much warning.

When this happens, push the snow mode button and be alert of the conditions that might lie ahead.

When the roadways improve, press the snow mode button again to deactivate it. No need to stop the car to do so.

Front of the unrecognizable car covered with snow and ice. Somewhere in the city of Halmstad. There is an unrecognizable random building at the background, Surface of the road is covered with snow.

Is all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive better for icy conditions?

When shopping for a new vehicle, you might narrow it down to models that offer either four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. But is there one that is better for icy roads?

When it comes to slippery pavement, all-wheel drive has the advantage. This configuration powers all four wheels. But the onboard computer will determine how much torque to give to each one based on how the tire is spinning on the road's surface.

However, four-wheel drive vehicles work better when driving through drifts of snow. They are also great for climbing steep, slick hills. The right one for you will depend on where you live.

silver truck moving snow on a winter's day.

How to drive in winter weather

Depending on where you live, getting around in the winter can be a nail-biting experience. The more snow and ice, the greater the chances of losing control of your vehicle. But injuries from an accident aren't the only things you have to worry about when driving in these conditions.

Winter Driving - Heavy snowfall on a country road. Driving on it becomes dangerous. - Can I Use Snow Mode On Icy Roads?

It can easily become stranded when the mercury drops well below freezing. Being stuck in a snowbank or ditch during a snowstorm probably isn't how you want to spend your evening.

But if you take proper precautions, you can work to avoid these incidents and be more prepared to survive if they do happen.

Before you embark on your next wintery journey, remember the following winter driving safety tips

Plan ahead and be prepared

Having a game plan before you leave the house in the winter is a great idea. Of course, staying home altogether is the best way to avoid an accident from the snow or ice. But that isn't always an option.

Plan your route ahead of time, selecting the ones along the emergency routes if possible. These routes will be the ones taken care of by street crews the best. And before you go, be sure you have the right supplies and equipment in your vehicle, just in case you need them.

Blankets, flashlights, and winterwear [gloves, hats, scarves, etc.] will help keep you warm if you get stranded. Hand warmers are also recommended.

It's also great to keep your phone charged and your charger handy, just in case. You don't want to get stuck without a working cell phone. We also recommend that you carry the following:

  • a first aid kit
  • road flares
  • a bag of sand or kitty litter [for traction]
  • a wooden plank [to help get tires unstuck]
  • ice scrapers
  • deicer
  • a compact snow shovel

Don't be in a hurry

Remember always to take your time! Snow, ice, and even rain make driving much more treacherous.

Don't assume that just because the snow plows and salt trucks have been working your route that it means the pavement isn't slick. Drive with extreme caution and be alert at all times.

Driving at a reduced speed is recommended. It can be easy to lose control on ice or hydroplane across puddles of rainwater. The faster you drive, the greater the odds you'll lose control of your vehicle.

Remember that it will take longer to brake.

It's also important to realize that slick roads usually mean that you might not be able to stop when you apply the brakes. And if you press them too fast, you can cause your vehicle to go into a skid. But there are ways to avoid this.

Begin to slowly pump your brakes well before you need to come to a stop when possible. Since you're driving at a slower speed anyway, this shouldn't be too much of an issue, right?

Slamming on the brakes at the last second can make you lose control, even if your vehicle is equipped with an anti-lock braking system.

Be aware of the road conditions, eliminate all possible distractions, and begin your journey prepared!

Traffic jam caused by heavy snowfall.

Final thoughts

Snow mode is a helpful piece of technology that many modern vehicles come equipped with. But no matter how technologically advanced your vehicle is, you will still need to have solid, safe driving practices when it comes to navigating your car or truck in slick conditions. Drive safe!

We hope this post on snow mode answered all of your questions. For additional information, we suggest reading the following posts:

How To Drive A Toyota Highlander In Snow [Inc. Using The Snow Button]

Can A Jeep Gladiator Plow Snow? [What You Need To Know!]

Can You Tow An All-Wheel-Drive Car Behind A Camper?