Winter Driving Safety Tips

Prepare for Winter Driving Conditions with These Tips

The winter will always bring with it precarious driving conditions. Whether it's icy roads, heavy snowfall, low visibility, or any other combination of harsh weather, knowing how to control your car is key to staying safe as you journey through the snow.

Remember these few things when driving in winter conditions:

  • Safe driving begins before you even get on the road
  • Hazards caused by winter weather consist of more than snow and ice

It's always worth mentioning that if you're able to avoid driving in adverse weather conditions, you'll be safest of all. But we know that's not always an option. Check out the tips below for safe driving tips.

Watch Out For These Winter Conditions

  • Snow, Ice, Sleet, and Freezing Rain
  • Isolated Ice Patches (caused by poorly maintained roads)
  • Potholes (from plow trucks shoveling snow, ice, and salt)
  • Other cars driving too fast for conditions
  • Drivers acting reckless despite road conditions
  • Plow trucks that turn, pull out, or shoot salt
  • Private roadways that aren't cleared of snow or ice

Safety Tips for Winter Driving

Before Your Drive:

  • Make sure to winterize your car. Prepare it for adverse weather conditions by assembling an emergency kit to keep with you.
  • Clear your windshield, windows, lights, and mirrors of snow and ice. Never drive with just a tiny opening to see.
  • Completely remove large chunks of ice and snow from your car. In Pennsylvania, you can face fines if snow or ice chunks fly off and injure another person.
  • Turn your headlights on to increase visibility for yourself and to other drivers.

Once You're Driving:

  • Reduce speeds and leave room to stop
  • Brake gently to avoid skidding or sliding
  • Don't use cruise control on icy roads
  • Use low gears to maintain traction
  • Don't pass snowplows – they have low visibility
  • Remember that bridges and overpasses will freeze first

If Your Rear Tires Skid:

  • Take your foot off the accelerator
  • Steer in the direction you want the front wheels to go
  • Apply steady pressure to your anti-lock brakes– don't worry if you feel them pulsing

If Your Front Tires Skid:

  • Take foot off the gas
  • Shift into neutral
  • Don't try to steer immediately
  • Steer as the vehicle begins to slow
  • Once you feel traction, put your car back in gear and accelerate gently

Stuck in the Snow:

  • Don't spin your wheels, as it will only dig you in deeper
  • Clear snow from the tires and underside of your car
  • Turn your wheels side to side to push snow out
  • Use a light touch on the gas to ease your car out
  • Pour sand, kitty litter, gravel, or salt in the path of the wheels
  • Put your vehicle in a low gear to help gain traction

If You Become Stranded:

  • If you can move your car, make sure it's out of the way of traffic
  • Don't leave your car unless you know where to find help
  • Light two flares, place one in front and one behind your car
  • Hang a bright cloth for your antenna
  • If you have gas and no exhaust pipe blockage, run the heater for 10 minutes every hour
  • Put on extra clothes to stay warm
  • Suck on hard candy to keep your mouth from getting too dry

Injured in a Winter Weather-Related Accident?

We're standing by around the clock to help with your accident injuries. Whether it was slick roads, negligent drivers, poorly maintained roads, or anything in between, we're here to get you the legal help you need. It's free to call and there's no obligation to use our services.

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