Tips for Winter Driving

Winter is upon us and, whether we like or not, with winter comes winter driving: snow, ice, salt, and other drivers. We’ve included 10 tips here for winter driving safety to hopefully help you avoid an auto injuries or auto accidents. As always, this information is intended simply for basic educational information; always consult your vehicle manual for information on braking and your car’s specific handling and needs.


  1. Always keep a winter gear kit in your car during winter months. This should include: sand or salt, a snow shovel, an ice scraper, water, blankets or sleeping bags, and non-perishable snacks. If you do get stranded these items should help you stay safe and warm while getting your car unstuck.
  2. Always clear snow and ice from your car before driving. Don’t simply clear a hole in the windshield to peer through. Clear the whole windshield, the back windshield and your headlights before driving.  There are windshield covers available to help prevent ice build up on your vehicle too.
  3. Know how to brake in your car.  Generally, if you have anti-lock brakes you should apply firm, continuous pressure. If you do not, you should pump your brakes. Check your car’s manual, however, for more detailed instructions.
  4. Make sure your windshield wipers are in good condition and that your windshield washer reservoir is full.  This can help clear your windshield of ice, salt from snowplows, and of course falling snow.
  5. Make sure you have at least 1/2 a tank of gas at all times. If you get stuck, you’ll at least be able to run the heater.
  6. Watch your speed. You are, undoubtedly, a good driver, but ice and slick roads can surprise even the best drivers out there. Slow down. Give yourself extra time to get to work.  Don’t get as close behind people at stop lights and always begin to slow down sooner than normal for lights and stop signs.
  7. If you are headed to a distant destination in bad weather, make sure people know you’re route and expected time of arrival and do not deviate from this.  Stick to main roads and routes and consult an actual Road Atlas instead of just using your car’s navigation system.
  8. If you do get stuck, don’t leave your car. Wait for help to arrive.  Use your heat a little at a time and make sure your exhaust pipe is clear of snow so that carbon monoxide doesn’t seep into the car. You can also crack a window to help with this.
  9. Get your car serviced before winter hits and have the battery checked.
  10. Know your car. You know how it drives, how the brakes work, how your car handles curves, etc. Use this knowledge to protect your self and other drivers on the road during hazardous winter driving conditions.