Winter Weather Driving – Be Prepared!

Winter weather driving and vehicle maintenance

Winter is a time when safe driving and well-maintained vehicles take on even greater importance. Below are several reminders from the Insurance Information Institute to help you and your friends and family avoid winter accidents.

  • Give yourself enough time to arrive at your destination. Trips can take longer during winter than other times of the year, especially if you encounter storm conditions or icy roads.
  • Bring a cell phone so that those awaiting your arrival can get in touch with you, or you can notify them if you are running late. But, avoid the temptation of using the phone while driving, as it can be a dangerous distraction—pull over first.
  • Drive slowly because stopping, turning and accelerating all take longer on snow-covered roads.
  • Leave more distance than usual between your vehicle and the one ahead of you, allowing yourself at least 10 seconds to come to a complete stop. Cars and motorcycles usually need at least three seconds to come to a halt completely, even on dry pavement.
  • Be careful when driving over bridges, as well as roadways that are rarely exposed to sunlight—they are often icy when other areas are not.
  • Avoid sudden stops and quick changes in direction.
  • Be sure to keep your gas tank full. Stormy weather or traffic delays may force you to change your route or turn back. And, a gas tank that’s fuller also decreases the likelihood of your vehicle’s gas line freezing.
  • Keep your windshield and windows clear. Drivers in cold weather states should have a snow brush or scraper in their vehicle at all times. Your car’s defroster can be supplemented by wiping the windows with a clean cloth to improve visibility.
  • Do not activate your cruise control when driving on a slippery surface, or when icy roads are a possibility.
  • Do not warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
  • Keep your tires properly inflated and remember that good tread is essential to safe winter driving.
  • Check your exhaust pipe to make sure it is clear and make sure there are no leaks in the exhaust system. A blocked or leaking pipe could cause the release of carbon monoxide gas into your car.
  • Monitor the weather conditions at your destination before beginning your trip. If conditions look asthough they are going to be too hazardous, just stay home.

For more useful safety information that you can share with your friends and family, visit the Insurance Information Institute insurance topics page.

Please drive safe!