12 Essential Winters Driving Tips You Need to Know 

With winter comes shorter days, colder temperatures and unfortunately, treacherous driving conditions.

But don’t let the thought of driving in the snow keep you off the roads – follow these winter driving tips and you’ll be prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws your way.

1. Get your car winter-ready.

Before the first snowfall, make sure your vehicle is up for the challenge by getting a tune-up, topping up all fluids including windshield wiper fluid, and checking (or replacing) your tires. Winter tires are ideal, but if you can’t afford them, make sure your all-season tires have good tread and are inflated to the proper pressure.

2. Slow down and give yourself extra time.

It takes longer to stop on slick roads, so take your foot off the gas and give yourself plenty of time to brake. And because visibility is often reduced in winter weather, leave earlier for your destination so you don’t have to rush.

3. Know how to handle a skid.

If you do find yourself in a skid, take your foot off the gas and steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go. If you’re on icy roads, avoid sudden turns and braking. Instead, gently slow down by removing your foot from the gas pedal or shifting into a lower gear.

4. Don’t use cruise control.

In winter driving conditions, it’s best not to use cruise control because it can make it harder to regain control of your car if you start to slide.

5. Increase your following distance.

You should increase your following distance behind other vehicles from the standard two to three seconds to eight to ten seconds. This will give you more time to react if the driver in front of you makes a sudden stop.

6. Use your lights – and keep them clean.

Make sure your headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals are all working properly and that your headlights are clean. In winter weather, it’s also a good idea to keep your fog lights on for added visibility.

7. Watch for black ice.

Black ice is one of the most dangerous winter driving hazards. It’s nearly impossible to see on the road, and it can cause your car to skid out of control. If you suspect there may be black ice ahead, slow down and drive cautiously.

8. Don’t pass snowplows.

Snowplows travel slowly for a reason – they’re clearing the road so you can get through safely. Passing a snowplow is not only dangerous, but it’s also against the law in many states.

9. Don’t drive distracted.

Winter driving conditions require your full attention, so avoid distractions like cell phones, passengers and anything else that takes your focus off the road.

10. Be prepared for emergencies.

No one wants to be stranded on the side of the road in a winter storm, but it’s always best to be prepared. Pack a winter driving kit for your car that includes items like jumper cables, a flashlight, blankets, non-perishable food and water, a first-aid kit, and an ice scraper.

11. Don’t warm up your car in an enclosed space.

It’s tempting to let your car idle in the garage to warm it up on cold mornings, but it’s actually very dangerous. Carbon monoxide from the exhaust can quickly build up in an enclosed space and lead to serious health problems – or even death. If you need to warm up your car, do it outside.

12. Know when to stay home.

If the weather is really bad, it’s sometimes best to just stay home. If you don’t have to go out in the snow, don’t. You – and everyone else on the road – will be safer if you wait until conditions improve.


These are just a few things to keep in mind when driving in winter weather. By taking some simple precautions and being prepared for the worst, you can help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone on the road.

Taking these steps to prepare your car and yourself for winter driving conditions can help you stay safe on the roads this season. So before you head out, make sure you’re prepared for whatever the weather may bring.