Winter Driving Tips
Winter driving can be dangerous, so its important to take extra caution on the roads. During bad weather, the best way to avoid an accident is not to drive at all. But, if you must drive, keep these winter driving tips from the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA) and Ready.gov in mind.
Prepare for Bad Weather in Advance
- Clean snow, ice and dirt off your car’s roof, hood, windshield, mirrors, headlights and tail lights
- Plan your route, check the weather and road conditions
- Get your car serviced by a professional mechanic for a winter tune-up
- Have your mechanic check your battery for sufficient voltage, amperage and reserve capacity and tighten connections.
- Check your cooling system to ensure that you have enough coolant and that it’s designed to withstand winter temperatures.
- Fill your windshield washer reservoir
- Check that your windshield wipers and defrosters are functioning properly
- Inspect your tires for proper pressure, tread, and wear and tear
- Prepare an emergency kit that includes:
- A shovel
- Windshield scraper and small broom
- Battery powered radio
- Extra batteries
- Snack food
- Extra clothes and blankets
- First aid kit
- Folding knife
- Tow chain or rope
- Road salt and sand
- Booster cables
- Emergency flares
- Fluorescent distress flag
- Keep your gas tank as close to full as possible.
- Drive slower and leave extra of room for braking.
- Brake gently to avoid skidding.
- If you do skid, stay calm and ease your foot off of the accelerator and steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go.
- If the weather gets really bad, consider pulling over, if its safe to do so.
Being properly prepared with the right gear, the fight safety checks and the right information can help drivers of all types stay safe on the road during the inclement, winter weather.
Originally published January 8, 2010