How to Drive Safely on Snow and Ice

Snowy Nissan Juke

As the Northeast digs out of one of worst snowstorms in recent memory and a large snowstorm looms over the upper Northwest, we figured it’s a good time to give our readers some tips for driving on snow and ice.

According to a NBC’s “Today Show,” snow and ice magnify poor driving techniques. The No. 1 mistake people make in snowy driving conditions is braking and turning at the same time. You should only do one or the other for more controlled driving. If your car has antilock brakes, don’t pump them when braking. Instead, apply steady pressure to them. Braking takes four to 10 times longer on ice and snow, so be sure to watch your speed and the traffic situation. For more tips on winter driving, watch the “Today” video below.

According to AAA, you should keep a shovel, ice scraper, flashlight, a first-aid kit and a cell phone charger in your car in case of an emergency. You should also keep kitty litter, sand or ice melt in your car in case it gets stuck in the snow.

According to “Today,” nearly 64,000 injuries and 1,400 deaths are caused by snowy conditions. The most important thing to do is pay extra attention to the road this time of year.

For more winter safety information, check out our Cars.com Advice column.

By Colin Bird | December 28, 2010 | Comments (9)

Comments 

I think this is a good start to an article but i was looking for more tip within the piece. This time of year is crazy because I live in Michigan and people know that the snow is coming and its like they forget how to drive.

David

The most important tip: SLOW DOWN!!!!! I live in Denver and too many people think they can go fast because they have 4wd or AWD...not the case, braking takes much longer distances especially the heavier your vehicle is. Just SLOW DOWN!!!

westphillyforever

I thought that was a really good Today Show piece. Though I agree there should be more focus on driving slower. I'm pretty sure speed is where most bad weather accidents start. I'd also like them to highlight that 4WD & AWD help you go but when you try to stop you're just like everybody else.

(I love how the 7 second commercial before the video announces that the video is brought to you commercial free by [a sponsor]. A word to online marketers - and NBC in particular; a short commercial, is still a commercial.)

Great advice here! It's so uncommon for people in the D.C. area to know how to drive in inclement weather because the area is so transient. I wrote a blog post recently on how to prepare your car for Old Man Winter. Thanks for sharing.

Winter is the most dangerous season to travel we must be more cautious while driving.............

driving in winter is always dangerous must be careful and slow driving is always best not to dig vehicles

Matt C

I think during snow storms the only modes of transportation that should be lawful are jet packs or roller blades. People would not only be taken off the roads, but we would look way more futuristic as a society.

Bren Hering

Hi, I’m Bren Hering with the agency that represents Honeywell, the maker of FRAM, Prestone and Autolite. These are great winter weather driving tips – especially with the weather we’ve had so far. It’s crucial to be prepared to drive in inclement weather and to protect your car from the elements. Prestone recently helped some great first responders do just this. We winterized more than 100 volunteer firefighter’s cars in Chicago, NYC and DC as part of the Own It For Good initiative. A tip we shared with the firefighters: Make sure you have ice fighters on hand – these help your vehicle perform in even the coldest winter weather. Our favorite products – we’re a little biased :) – are Prestone Ice & Frost Shield Vehicle Glass Treatment, Prestone Windshield De-Icer, and Prestone Starting Fluid. You can check out Prestone.com to learn more. Happy and safe driving!

Am I supposed to keep a kitty in the trunk to go with the kitty litter? And how about a thermos of hot coffee. And an emergency bag of chocolate. And an ipod full of Car talk episodes to punish myself with when I brake and turn at the same time and get stuck in a ditch for 6 hours.

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