Winter driving tips


Cartoon of car in winter weather

Snow is on its way, will you be ready?

Here are a few suggestions we hope you will find useful, please take a minute to review them.

When driving in the snow, do everything slowly and gently. Driving in snow, sleet, and ice is very treacherous. Even if you maintain control of your car, not everyone else will. So, don't ever get lulled into a false sense of security. Maintain control of your vehicle by doing everything slowly and gently and watch out for everyone else.

When the first snow of the season arrives, consider spending some time practicing in an empty parking lot. Slam on the brakes to force a skid, then practice turning into the skid and see what happens. Practice until you're comfortable regaining control of the car.

Before you get on the road, check out the road conditions at the Dept. of Transportation's website or call 511 for up to date travel information. And before you get underway, don't forget to clear you car off. Be sure to clear off ALL your windows, the top of your car, your headlights, brake lights and turn signals. This makes it possible for you to see others and for them to see you.

Winter time car trouble can bring an abrupt stop to your drive to work and put you, your passengers and other motorists in a potentially hazardous situation. Breakdowns usually involve not only a repair bill but costly towing charges as well as lost work time. What can you do?

  • Be sure to check the power steering, brake and transmission fluids, the engine oil, antifreeze, hoses and belts regularly during winter months.
  • Keep the gas tank at least half full. This helps control condensation inside the tank, keeping your fuel free of water. It may also save you from running out of gas in an unexpected traffic jam.
  • Keep your tires properly inflated and inspect them for uneven wear, bulges and adequate tread depth. Be aware that tires lose about one pound of inflation for every 10-degree drop in temperature.
  • Check your windshield wiper blades. Generally they need replacing every 6 months and be sure to keep the reservoir filled with wiper solvent.
  • Make sure your headlights, tail lights, brake lights and directional signals are all working properly.
  • Consider turning on your headlights both day and night for optimum safety.
  • Learn the early the warning signs of brake trouble, such as a squealing or scraping sound, a soft pedal action or pulling to one side. Braking in the winter is hard enough without having bad brakes, too.
  • If you have been having battery trouble, cold weather will almost always make it worse. Get it taken care of before you get stranded.
  • Remember never to warm up your car in a closed garage. Exhaust gas can kill.
  • Watch out for black ice when the temperature gets down around freezing. Black ice can look like wet pavement but it is very slippery and dangerous.
  • Inventory your car’s cold weather equipment. Do you have or need the following:
    • Ice scraper and brush or broom
    • Small snow shovel
    • Emergency flares
    • Vehicle owner’s manual
    • Spare tire and jack
    • Basic tool kit (screwdriver, wrench & hammer)
    • Spare change
    • First-aid kit

Remember, safe driving begins with you !