Staying Safe On the Roads this Winter
Spring may be just one week away, but wintry road conditions are still a concern for many drivers. Vehicle maintenance is important all year long—especially during the dangerous winter months. NHTSA has prepared a list of winter driving tips to help you reach your final destination safely.
Before the Snow Falls
Driving safely begins before you even get on the road. Regular tune-ups and maintenance are the starting point for safe driving year-round. In winter, pay special attention to your vehicle’s battery, lights, wipers, coolant, tires and other systems that can take a beating when the temperature drops. If you’re using snow tires, have them installed before the snow begins to fall. When you know you vehicle is ready for the road, clear your car of snow, ice or dirt from the windows, the forward sensors, headlights, tail lights and backup camera.
As You Drive
Before heading out, know the weather conditions, traffic, and plan your route accordingly. Also remember to drive slowly. It’s harder to control or stop you vehicle on a slick or snow-covered road. Increase your following distance enough so that you'll have plenty of time to stop for vehicles ahead of you.
No matter the weather conditions, you and everyone in your vehicle should be wearing seat belts for every ride. Children should be in age- and size-appropriate child seats. Never drive after drinking. Never drive when distracted by an electronic device or anything else. Those are the essentials for safe driving, whatever the weather.
Ready for an Emergency
Even if you and your vehicle are prepared, crashes happen. Vehicles break down. Any of us can get caught out in the elements and help might not be just around the corner. Make sure your vehicle is stocked to help get you out of trouble or to keep you safe until help arrives. Even if you don’t need emergency resources, they can all be used to help someone in need on the road. Keep the following items in your vehicle during the winter months:
- Jumper cables
- Flares or emergency lights
- Snow shovel, broom, or ice scraper
- Water, food, or medication needed for a longer trip
More Winter Driving Tips
There’s a lot that goes into preparing yourself and your vehicle for winter, so check out NHTSA’s Winter Driving Tips to ensure safe travels.