5 Tips Every Winter Driver Must Read

It’s a different game on the roads when snow begins to fall. But there’s a lot you can do to make winter driving safer for you, your passengers, and the drivers around you. Here are a few winter driving tips that you can use to keep yourself safe this winter.

  • Slow it down. Don’t drive faster than conditions allow, and slow down your driving habits. Fast movements and erratic behaviors can send your car into a skid or worse when road conditions deteriorate. Instead, make sure you accelerate slowly, turn slowly, and apply pressure to your brakes slowly to maintain control of your vehicle. NPR’s vehicle-themed radio show Car Talk suggests you drive like there were eggs on the bottom of your feet. Step on the gas and break pedals gently enough to keep them from breaking.
  • Check your windshield wiper blades, and keep your wiper fluid reservoir filled. You don’t want to discover that your wipers aren’t functioning properly or that your wiper blades are crumbling apart while on a crowded highway during a snowstorm. Make sure to check these regularly. You can also go through a huge amount of windshield wiper fluid during certain kinds of snowy conditions. Make sure your reservoir is always filled with quality, “no-freeze” fluid.
  • Clean off your car before driving. Don’t be “that guy” driving down the road with a foot of snow still on your hood, peering through a small cleared spot on the windshield the size of an ice scraper blade. “That guy” is a danger to everyone on the road. Snow flying from your car can obscure other drivers’ vision, or prevent other drivers from seeing your turn signals or headlights clearly. Clean all of your windows completely, including your sideview mirrors, headlights, turn signals, and any piled up snow on your vehicle’s roof, hood or trunk. Not only will it improve your view of the road and surroundings, but it’s also the law in many states.
  • Make a winter driving survival kit. A Land Shark Instant Survival Shelter & Stealth Bag is an important tool in every survival kit, since it can provide valuable protection in water and on land. For the rest of your kit, you’ll find many of the items you need already in your home. A well-stocked winter driving survival kit should include:
    • small candles and matches
    • plastic flashlight and spare batteries
    • snacks
    • whistle
    • emergency flares and reflectors
    • pencil and paper
    • jumper cables
    • cell phone adapter to plug into lighter
    • water
    • extra hat, gloves and socks

  • Practice makes perfect. This is especially important for newer drivers with little to no experience in the snow. When you hit a patch of black ice or find your vehicle in a slide for the first time, it’s better to be in a completely controlled situation rather than barreling down the highway. Knowing what you and your car are capable of handling during inclement weather goes a long way toward keeping you safe. Find a large, empty parking lot on a snowy day, and try sending your car into a skid. Practice skills like turning into the skid, applying light pressure to the breaks, and bringing your vehicle to a complete stop. Practice these maneuvers until you feel comfortable with regaining control of the car.

Follow these tips and stay safe this winter!