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Drive for Uber, Lyft or Sidecar during a Blizzard?

Should you Drive for Uber, Lyft or Sidecar during a Blizzard?

So there is a major storm heading to the North East tomorrow and will last until Tuesday night. It is expected to drop over a foot of snow between New York and Boston. So the question is, should you drive during the storm?

First and foremost, if you have not driven in the snow or don’t feel comfortable driving in the snow, don’t do it. This storm is a major storm and may present challenges to drivers who are accustomed to the snow. This is not the day to learn how to drive in the snow. It’s expected to drop an inch or more an hour. Also, if your local government is asking residents to stay home, do so. More cars on the road can prevent snow plows and emergency vehicles to travel during the storm. If you do crash or end up getting stuck, this will cause even more problems as now other people will need to come and rescue you or help you move your vehicle.

Tips for Preparing Your Car for a Major Storm

Tips for Driving in the Snow

If you do decide to drive, here are a few good tips on driving in the snow

Warning about All Wheel Drive

All wheel drive is amazing but it can only do so much. AWD doesn’t mean god mode during a snow storm. You can’t fight physics, no matter how hard you try. The most important thing is your tires. Do you have sufficient tread on your tires? How well does your tires perform in the snow? Are they all season tires (bare minimum to be driving in the snow, highly not recommended to be in summer tires in the snow) or snow or studless ice tires? If your tires are worn out and old, they won’t do well in the snow, no matter how good your AWD drive system is. I will be going more in depth about tire selection in another post.

Four wheel drive (4WD) is actually preferred in deep snow where your tires don’t touch the bare pavement and is only recommended to be used at low speeds. Refer to this article for more details on the difference between AWD and 4WD in winter driving: http://blog.motorists.org/winter-driving-rwd-fwd-awd-4wd/

AWD is not a substitute for good driving habits. Both go hand in hand and good driving habits will be greatly enhanced by AWD.

Uber Demand During a Storm

So generally demand during a storm would be higher than normal. But there are some situations where there won’t be any demand because everyone is home. Here are some situations where demand will be higher than normal and Uber and Lyft are likely to surge:

Here are some situations where demand will be much lower than normal:

During a major storm, some states may declare a state of emergency, like NJ and NY during Hurricane Sandy, or during blizzards in the North East. Uber noted that they would limit surge in a specific way during these storms when the state declares a state of emergency. You can read more about it here in Uber’s Blog post: UberARC. During these times, it may not be profitable to drive as Uber will be limiting surge. Uber has not limited surge yet because of a state of emergency so this may be the first storm that this will happen.

There have been major storms after Uber had announced their storm policy. The biggest one was the major rainstorm that hit the San Francisco Bay Area. There was surge pricing during the storm as high as 5x, which isn’t nearly as high was it was during Halloween when it hit a record 9.8x. You can read more about the SF Bay storm and Uber’s response to surge during the storm: Uber Responds to Surge Pricing During the SF Bay Area Storm

My recommendation for Winter Storm Juno:

Monday Night:

Tuesday Morning:

Look at the Passenger App!

The most important thing to do is to watch the surge maps! I’ll have a video loaded later this week on my Youtube Channel on how to read the Uber passenger app for surge pricing and what to look for. If its surging, turn on the app if you happen to live in a surge zone. If there is surge all over the city, I would either keep watching the surge to see if it will last a while or go out and try to drive. Just don’t go chasing the surge pricing, especially in a blizzard. During a blizzard or snow storm, surge can go away very quickly because of the situations I mentioned above so keep in mind that it may be a real short day for you if you only drive during surge.

I drove last year during a snow storm when government offices were shut down, along with the rest of the city. There was some minor surge pricing around 8-9am but quickly disappeared and it was a very quiet day overall because no one else was going to work. It wasn’t bad enough to declare a state of emergency but enough to shut down offices in the city. I would expect it to be the same situation on Tuesday especially with the whiteout conditions Tuesday morning.

Are you thinking about driving in the snow? If you are driving, how will you be driving in the snow? Are you prepared for it with All Wheel Drive?

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