What Does Snow Mode Do?

Snow Mode alters your vehicle’s driving dynamics to help you maintain control in winter weather. Read on to learn how it works and when to use it.
Written by Sarah Gray
Reviewed by Brittni Brinn
Snow Mode alters your car’s torque distribution, power, and transmission settings to create a safer winter-driving experience.
A blanket of white on the ground may be beautiful when you’re safely at home, but driving in snow is one of the most dangerous undertakings you may encounter behind the wheel. That’s why many manufacturers have developed Snow Modes to help drivers maintain traction and control while slogging through the white stuff.
To help you better understand what Snow Mode does and when you should use it,
Jerry
, the
car insurance
super app for car owners has created this guide. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about Snow Mode, provide some suggestions for driving in snowy weather, and even throw you tips to save money on car insurance.
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What is Snow Mode and what does it do?

Newer vehicles often have more bells and whistles than you’ll ever need, but if your car is equipped with Snow Mode and you live in a place where you have to navigate winter weather conditions and icy roads, you’re in luck. 
Snow Mode is a type of traction control that works by altering your car’s driving dynamics to help you maintain traction and control on snowy roads. Specifically, Snow Mode does each of the following to help your vehicle maintain traction and make driving in snow easier:
  • Modifies torque distribution to reduce power to wheels that have lost traction
  • Decreases throttle response to help reduce wheel spin overall
  • Modifies transmission settings to maintain a lower rpm 
These features work particularly well when combined with all-wheel drive (AWD) and winter tires or snow tires, but are helpful for any vehicle in slick weather.

When to use Snow Mode

Anytime you’re driving in snowy or slick road conditions or on other slippery surfaces, like mud, Snow Mode can be used to help you maintain traction and control. Whether your vehicle has front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive, Snow Mode can offer you that extra bit of assistance that can help you keep on the road. Some would even argue that, especially on icy roads, front-wheel-drive or AWD vehicles equipped with Snow Mode are superior even to a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

Snow Mode vs. other driving modes

If your vehicle is equipped with multiple drive modes, each is designed to help a particular aspect of your vehicle’s performance in different driving conditions. Let’s take a look at what some of the more common drive modes are to help you better understand how Snow Mode differs:
  • Normal Mode—Designed for everyday use, this mode helps balance your car’s performance, efficiency, and comfort.
  • Sport Mode—If you like a little pep in your step, Sport Mode increases throttle sensitivity and can even adjust your vehicle’s suspension and steering for more responsive and athletic driving behavior.
  • Eco Mode—If you’re looking to increase fuel economy, Eco Mode can help by reducing power demands throughout the vehicle.

Tips for driving safely in snowy conditions 

Driving in snow is a skill, but it’s one that can be perfected over time with a little caution and patience. Here are some tips to help you navigate the white stuff no matter how long you’ve been driving:
  • Know your vehicle—Be familiar both with your car’s driving demeanor and its available safety systems (such as anti-lock braking systems, all-wheel-drive systems, and stability control).
  • One thing at a time—Avoid simultaneous actions, like braking or accelerating while steering through a corner. Brake first, use momentum to negotiate the corner, then accelerate when you’re able to straighten out the wheel again.
  • Avoid harsh acceleration and deceleration—Go gentle on the gas and brake pedal to avoid skidding, and maintain low speeds.
  • Do not use cruise control—Engaging cruise control in wet, icy, or snowy conditions increases the risk of losing traction.
  • Increase following distance—Allow yourself some extra distance, and time, to react to changing conditions.
  • Avoid aggressive maneuvers—Jerking the steering wheel or slamming on the brakes can cause you to lose traction.
  • Make momentum your friend—The less you have to stop and go, the fewer chances you have to spin out. Building up a bit of momentum can also help you power through deep snow that might otherwise leave you stuck.
  • Use Snow Mode—If equipped, use your vehicle’s Snow Mode to help maintain traction.
  • Make use of manual transmission—If you’ve got a manual transmission, start in 2nd gear rather than 1st to avoid spinning out, and employ engine braking by shifting to a lower gear to slow your vehicle rather than relying on brakes.

Protect yourself during winter driving with great car insurance

Snow Mode is a great way to decrease the likelihood you’ll find yourself in an accident while driving in wintry conditions. This is why a lot of
car insurance
companies offer discounts to drivers whose vehicles are equipped with this and other safety features—with Snow Mode, you’re less likely to file a claim after an accident caused by driving in snowy or slick conditions. 
Unfortunately, even with Snow Mode installed, drivers who live in snowy regions often wind up spending more for insurance than those in warmer climates. Unless they shop for coverage with
Jerry
.
Jerry partners with over 55 insurance companies to find you the best policy without sacrificing quality for savings. Plus, when you shop with Jerry, you don’t just get great deals now—you get a
dedicated broker for life
who reshops your policy every time it comes up for renewal. If there’s a better deal out there, you’ll get new quotes sent straight to your phone, so you can easily upgrade your plan and keep saving every year.
Download the Jerry app and join the ranks of Jerry customers who save an average of over $800 a year on car insurance today!
“I decided to try
Jerry
because my car insurance had been increasing drastically with each policy renewal. Jerry found me multiple ways to save after entering just a few pieces of info! I’m saving almost $70 a month after choosing Nationwide.” —Ish M. 
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FAQs

Snow Mode is a traction control system that can help you maintain traction and control on any slick surface, including ice. However, even if your car has Snow Mode, driving in icy conditions is best done with extreme caution.
If your car is equipped with Snow Mode, it is generally engaged either with the push of a button or the turn of a knob. If you’re unsure which method your car uses to engage Snow Mode, check your car’s owner’s manual for instructions.
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