Tips for Safe Winter Driving

This information is courtesy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Three P's of Safe Winter Driving:

  1. Prepare for the trip
  2. Protect yourself
  3. Prevent crashes on the road


  • Maintain Your Car, check battery and tire tread, keep your windows clear, put no-freeze fluid in the washer reservoir, check your antifreeze.
  • Have an emergency kit - flashlight, jumper cables, abrasive material (sand, kitty litter, even floor mats), shovel, snow brush and ice scraper, warning devices (like flares) and blankets. For long trips, add food and water, medication and cell phone.
  • Stopped or stalled? Stay with your car, don't over exert, put bright markers on antenna or windows and shine dome light, and, if you run your car, clear exhaust pipe and run it just enough to stay warm.
  • Plan your route, allow plenty of time (check the weather and leave early if necessary), be familiar with the maps/directions, and let others know your route and arrival time.
  • Practice cold weather driving, during daylight, rehearse maneuvers slowly on the ice or snow in an empty lot~ Steer into a skid~ Know what your brakes will do: stomp on anti lock brakes, pump non-antilock brakes~ Stopping distances are longer on ice. Don't idle for a long time with the windows up or in an enclosed space.

Protect Yourself

  • Buckle up and use child safety seats properly.
  • Never place a rear-facing infant seat in front of an air bag.
  • Children 12 and under are much safer in the back seat.
  • Sit back 10 inches from an air bag.

Prevent Crashes

  • Drugs and alcohol never mix with driving - use a designated driver.
  • Slow down and increase distances between cars.
  • Keep your eyes open for pedestrians walking in the road.
  • Avoid fatigue - get plenty of rest before the trip, stop at least every 3 hours, and rotate drivers if possible.