Winter Driving Tips

Start the season off right by making sure your vehicle is in good condition. Additionally, every vehicle handles bad weather driving differently, learn how your vehicle handles.

Stay Alert
  • If road conditions are hazardous, avoid driving if possible. 
  • Keep your gas tank close to full, even with a hybrid-electric vehicle.
  • On longer trips, plan enough time for “just in case”.
  • Be sure to stop to stretch, get something to eat, and change drivers or rest if you feel drowsy.
 
Driving in Winter Conditions
  • Drive slowly. It’s harder to control or stop your vehicle on a slick  surface.
  • Increase your following distance so you’ll have plenty of time to stop for vehicles ahead of you.
  • Learn how to use your antilock brake system properly. Antilock brake systems prevent your wheels from locking up during braking. If you have antilock brakes, apply firm, continuous pressure to the brake pedal. If you don’t have antilock brakes, you may need to pump your brakes if you feel your wheels starting to lock up.

Navigating Around Snow Plows

  • Don’t crowd a snow plow or travel beside it.
  • The road behind an active snow plow is safer to drive on. If you find yourself behind a snow plow, stay behind it or use caution when passing.
  • A snow plow operator’s field-of-vision is limited; if you can’t see the mirrors, the driver can’t see you.
  • Don’t follow or stop too closely. Also, materials used to de-ice the road could hit your vehicle. 
  • Snow plows can throw up a cloud of snow that can reduce your visibility to zero in less time than you can react. Never drive into a snow cloud – it can conceal vehicles or hazards.
                       
What To Do In An Emergency

If you are stopped or stalled in wintry weather, follow these safety rules:
  • Stay with your car and don’t overexert yourself.
  • Put bright markers on the antenna or windows and keep the interior dome light turned on.
  • To avoid asphyxiation from carbon monoxide poisoning, don’t run your car for long periods of time with the windows up or in an enclosed space. If you must run your vehicle, clear the exhaust pipe of any snow and run it only sporadically — just long enough to stay warm.

Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones

Always wear your seat belt and ensure that everyone else in your vehicle is buckled-up in age and size-appropriate restraints. 

  • All children under age 13 should always ride properly restrained in the back seat.
  • Make sure car seats/booster seats are properly installed and that children are in the right car/booster seat, or seat belt for their age and size. See NHTSA’s child passenger safety recommendations to find out how to select the right seat for your child’s age and size. 
  • Though thick outerwear will keep your children warm, it can interfere with the proper harness fit on your child in a car seat. Instead, place blankets or coats around your child after the harness is snug and secure.
  • Never leave a child unattended in or around your vehicle.
  • Always remember to lock your vehicle and keep your keys out of reach when exiting so children do not play or get trapped inside.

Avoid Risky Driving Behaviors

  • Do not text or engage in any activities that may distract you while driving.
  • Obey posted speed limits, but drive even slower if necessary for weather conditions.
  • Drive sober. Alcohol and drugs impair perception, judgment, motor skills, and memory – the skills critical for safe and responsible driving.

ALERT
We have heard many reports regarding newer vehicles that have Keyless Entry & Start - people are accidently leaving their vehicles running while parked in a garage. "Since 2006, more than two dozen people have died from carbon monoxide poisoning after leaving a car running in an enclosed garage that was attached to a house, and many others have suffered illness and injury" per Edmunds.com. ALWAYS be sure to have your key fob on your person - it should sound an alarm as you walk away if your vehicle is running.
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