Safe Winter Driving Checklist

Of the 6.3 million auto accidents that occur on U.S. roads every year, 24 percent are caused by adverse weather conditions like rain, sleet, snow and fog.

A combination of proper equipment and driving techniques can minimize the likelihood of severe injuries as a result of crashes.

The Safe Winter Driving Checklist

There are several techniques you can learn in order to become a more controlled winter driver — but before we cover them, it’s important to point out that many winter driving tips are guidelines, not tenets. In order to best know how react to any situation, it’s crucial to be familiar with your car and how it handles in all types of weather.

  1. Make sure your tires can grip slippery roads. Get your tires checked and ask the specialists about your possible traction needs. Remember that “all-season” tires are really more like “three-season” tires in areas that get more than the occasional dusting of snow each winter. You aren’t finished even after you’ve visited your local tire shop; you must check and maintain your tires’ PSI levels regularly throughout the winter. Winter debris can cause tears and leaks and extremely cold air can drop your air pressure levels, take a few seconds to check them every week and you’re tires will keep you safer and last longer.
  2. Know what to expect on your trip and plan accordingly. If you know you need to travel through especially bad wintery conditions, be sure to check for travel advisories on the DOT website first. Visit your state’s DOT website to access information and service alerts about your local weather, road conditions and traffic levels.
  3. Slow down and relax. This is the most important rule to driving in bad conditions of any kind- and we’re not just talking about speed. You want to do everything more slowly and more lightly than you normally would. Hitting your gas pedal, clamping your breaks or cranking your wheel too quickly is a surefire way to lose traction on an icy or wet road.
  4. Know when to quit. Sometimes road conditions are simply too dangerous to drive in. If you can’t see or you keep losing control, pull over. Never push your luck if you’re unsure. It’s not worth it to drive if you’re jeopardizing yourself, your passengers or other drivers on the road.
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