Winter Weather Driving Tips

As the potential for hazardous driving conditions increase over the next few days, here are some winter weather driving safety tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Stock Your Vehicle

  • Snow shovel, broom, and ice scraper.
  • Abrasive material such as sand or kitty litter, in case your vehicle gets stuck in the snow.
  • Jumper cables, flashlight, and warning devices such as flares and emergency markers.
  • Blankets for protection from the cold.
  • A cell phone with charger, water, food, and any necessary medicine (for longer trips or when
  • driving in lightly populated areas).


Driving in Winter Conditions

  • Drive slowly. It’s harder to control or stop your vehicle on a slick or snow-covered surface.
  • Increase your following distance enough so that you’ll have plenty of time to stop for vehicles
  • ahead of you.
  • Know whether your vehicle has an antilock brake system and learn how to use it 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.

Avoid Risky Driving Behaviors

  • Do not text or engage in any activities that may distract you while driving.
  • Obey all 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.


Plan Your Travel and Route

  • Check the weather, road conditions, and traffic.
  • Don’t rush; allow plenty of time to get to your destination safely. Plan to leave early if
  • necessary.
  • Familiarize yourself with directions and maps before you go, even if you use a GPS
  • system, and let others know your route and anticipated arrival time.


What to Do in a Winter Emergency

  • 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

Click here for an InfoGraphic from NHTSA.