Tips for Safe Driving in Winter Weather

Make staying safe on the roadways a top priority this year by following these key winter driving tips and suggestions!

This is Public Health is brought to you in partnership with the Tuscarawas County Health Department.

Even the most experienced drivers consider winter weather to be a challenge. After more mild conditions, the hazards of snow and ice catch many skilled and seasoned drivers off guard. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, up to 17 percent of vehicular accidents occur in winter conditions. That said, it’s important to be ready this season and check out these winter driving tips.

Ready Your Vehicle

Before hitting the road & to ensure year-round safe driving, it’s essential to keep up with your vehicle’s maintenance and schedule regular tune-ups. During the winter months you should also:

  • Pay attention to your battery, wipers, tires, and liquid levels (like coolant, antifreeze, and oil)
  • If using snow tires, have them installed before the first snowflakes fall
  • Before driving, clear all snow, ice, and dirt from the windows, sensors, lights, and cameras

Ready Yourself

First and foremost, drive slowly and carefully. Controlling and stopping the vehicle become more difficult with snowy or slick roadways. Increase your following distance, apply the brakes with plenty of time to stop, and leave earlier so you give yourself more time to drive slowly.

Remember every vehicle handles differently. When navigating icy, snowy or wet roads, give yourself time to learn how the car or truck handles. Research the weather report and traffic conditions before heading out so you can plan accordingly.

Ready for an Emergency

An accident or break down can happen anywhere at any time- and help may not arrive quickly. Even the most prepared, experienced drivers should be prepared for these emergencies. To stay safe until help arrives, keep your vehicle stocked with:

  • Blankets and/or a change of clothes
  • Flashlights
  • Jumper cables
  • Flares or emergency lights

In the event of an emergency, you can help yourself and others with these tools.

While winter driving certainly demands an extra level of care, it’s important to practice safe driving all year long. All passengers in a vehicle should be wearing a seatblt- even for short rides. Children need to be in size- and age-appropriate child seats. Never drink and drive, and avoid all distractions- such as electronic devices- while behind the wheel. No matter what the weather is doing, it’s important to follow these safety tips.

For more driving safety tips, check out NHTSA’s website and Winter Driving Tips.

1 thought on “Tips for Safe Driving in Winter Weather”

  1. Having all the tools in place in case of an emergency is vital for staying safe during winter driving. Truck drivers should check that their lights are functional, wheels aren’t flat, and everything else is accounted for.

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