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Safe Winter Driving Tips


Slow Down! Drive according to road and weather conditions. Remember, the posted speed limits are for ideal conditions and dry pavement.

Clear snow and ice from ALL windows and lights especially the hood and roof, before driving. Give a wide berth when you encounter a rolling iceberg !!!  (Someone who hasn’t cleaned off their vehicle)

Leave plenty of room for stopping and brake early. It takes more time to stop when roads are wet or icy.

Know current road conditions for your destination.

Check weather and traffic information on local radio stations.

Watch local TV news for weather and traffic reports.

Watch electronic highway signs for information. (USCG Base)

Leave room for maintenance vehicles and plows - stay at least 15 car lengths (200 feet) back and don't pass on the right.

Watch for icy surfaces on bridges, when the rest of the road seems to be in good condition. Bridge decks will ice up first.

Look farther ahead in traffic. Actions by other drivers will alert you to problems and give you extra seconds to react.

Trucks take longer to stop, so please don't cut in front of them.

Don't use your cruise control or overdrive when it's freezing (or colder). Even roads that appear clear can have isolated slippery spots and the short touch of your brakes to deactivate cruise control can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. With overdrive, as you encounter a hill your vehicle automatically accelerates or downshifts, which can cause loss of traction.

Don't get overconfident with four-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive helps you get going quicker but it won't help you stop any faster. Four wheel drive does not mean four wheel stop!

Don't pump anti-lock brakes. If your car is equipped with anti-lock brakes, do not pump your brakes. The right way is to "stomp and steer."

Know your vehicle. Read your Owners Manual.

Adjust to Road Conditions. The faster your vehicle is going, the more distance it will take to turn, slow, or stop.

Slow down at the first sign of rain, snow, or sleet. When the road is slippery, the vehicle's tires do not grip as well as they do on a dry road.

Allow extra time. Give yourself extra time to reach your destination when roads may be slick. Consider delaying your trip.

Avoid unnecessary trips. If at all possible, do not drive when the roads are icy. Don’t send inexperienced drivers on errands.  

Buckle your seatbelt. (It’s the law anyway)

Carpool if at all possible. (Always a good idea to save fuel)

Let others know your itinerary.

Carry your cell phone with a full battery, and a charger in the car.

Keep your gas tank topped off, or as full as possible.

Drive with your headlights on.

Drive with your headlights on.

Drive with your headlights on. !!!!!!

Prepare your vehicle

While you should keep your vehicle in top operating condition all year round - for safety and fuel economy - it is especially important to get it winterized to avoid dangerous situations while traveling in our arctic-like weather.  Consider a block heater to avoid needlessly running a vehicle for “warming it up” (Remember to unplug before driving away!)  

Read your Owner's Manual and check the following:

Windshield Wipers and Wiper fluid

Batteries and lights

Defroster and Heater


Belts, Hoses, and Filters

Motor Oil

Tire Pressure

Brakes and Brake fluid

Remember to Carry:

Ice scraper-Snow brush


Ice cleats for your shoes

Know your studded tire and chain options.

Check with local tire vendors

Fit your chains before you need them.

Winter Survival Kit

You never know when you’ll be caught in bad winter weather. If you’re hitting the highways during the winter months, it makes sense to be prepared. First, make sure your car is fit for traveling. Get a complete check out before going anywhere. Fill up with anti-freeze. Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Check your pressure first thing in the morning when the tires are cold. Pack flares or safety triangles and don’t forget waterproof matches. You may need to dig yourself out so keep a shovel in the trunk with your tow rope and jumper cables. Salt is useful for melting ice and snow. And if you’re stuck in slush, kitty litter or sand can provide traction. Pack candles and tin cans which provide heat and light. Don’t forget some emergency foods. Common sense, preparation and planning are the key to your safety. Armed with this winter survival kit, your drive will be a little less stressful. Remember a change of clothing is always good, as well as blankets, flashlights with spare batteries, and 1-2 liters of drinking water.