Tips for Safe Winter Driving

It's the first day of winter so we're reposting this handy list of tips from last year.

This checklist, provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is a perfect aid before heading out in snowy conditions.

Plan Ahead
  • It’s a little late for this one, but before winter starts, it’s good to get your vehicle serviced by a mechanic to check for leaks, bad hoses or other repairs  
  • Have a mechanic check that your battery has sufficient voltage  
  • Make sure battery cable connections are secure, and have your charging system and belts inspected, too 
  • Make sure there is enough coolant in your car  
  • Completely fill your windshield washer reservoir with fluid before the first snow hits 
  • Spend the extra dollars for a high-quality “no-freeze” washer fluid  
  • Keep an extra bottle of washer fluid handy in your trunk  
  • Make sure your wipers are working properly with no streaking; if they are, replace them 

Take Precautions 

  • Check the weather. Don't hit the road if it’s too treacherous to depart  
  • If you absolutely need to go outside, plan to leave earlier or arrive later than usual  
  • Keep your gas tank at least half-full. If you get stuck in a traffic jam, you might need more fuel just to stay warm  
  • Pack a shovel, broom, ice scrapper, flashlight, jumper cables and warning markers or flares  
  • Have an abrasive material, such as kitty litter or sand, ready to help with traction 
  • Have a blanket, cell phone, some water, food and any necessary medicine (for longer trips through rural areas) 

On the Road

  • Always wear your seat belt (This really should go without saying)  
  • Wear winter outerwear, and make sure your passengers, especially children, are bundled up for the snowy conditions  
  • Do not text or engage in distracting activities while driving 

Stranded in the Cold 

  • Stay in your car, and don’t overexert yourself  
  • Make yourself easy to find by keeping your interior light turned on and removing the cover from the dome light, if possible  
  • Put bright markers or reflective material on your antenna or windows  
  • Avoid carbon monoxide buildup by avoiding long stretches of idling with the windows up. If you have to keep the car running, make sure the exhaust pipe is clear of snow, and keep the engine running just long enough to stay warm 
By Colin Bird | December 22, 2011 | Comments (4)



lets not forget something a very important item ,tires, tires, tires ,make sure they have tread,and your not trying to drive on high performance summer only tires in a foot of snow

I agree with what you said about the tires. Sometimes that gets overlooked, and it's not fun to have that kind of trouble on the snowy roads. You need all the control you can get during the iffy winter weather, so it pays to have your car gear ready.

It's better to be safe than sorry. It's true, Jim, that tires should be changed during this season. Winter tires are a necessity and a good form of insurance. If you don’t have winter tires, you can improve the traction of your current tires by wrapping them in chains. Also, keep your speed low, as it is very easy to figure in an accident with the roads covered in ice.

Since the winter can cause the roads to become slick and slippery, it is best to slow down when driving, even if you’re an experienced driver. Reducing your speed by 50 percent makes your tire traction more effective, and your tires will likely stick better than if you’re driving faster. Also, do not forget to use your brakes frequently. :)

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