Driving in Snow and Ice

Nobody likes driving in the snow and dealing with the delays that result. If you must travel in the snow, taking these steps should increase your chances of getting home again safely.

There's nothing more beautiful than a blanket of new-falling snow. Unless, of course, you're driving in it. Winter snow and ice pose special problems for even the most experienced driver. Take a few moments to learn these basic rules of winter driving safety.

  • If you don't have to drive--don't!  But if you must, drive defensively and smart.
  • Before beginning your trip, know the current road conditions.
  • Keep your windshield and windows clear. Keep a ice scraper handy, and use the car defroster or a clean cloth to keep the windows free of mist
  • Leave a few minutes early to allow extra time to get to your destination.
  • Slow down. Triple the usual distance between your car and the one ahead.
  • Be alert for potential driving hazards including downed branches, trees, electric lines and icy areas, such as shady spots and bridges.
  • Stay in the plowed lane; avoid driving over the ridges between the plowed areas. If you must switch lanes, slow down, signal and move over slowly.
  • Don't pass a snowplow or spreader unless it is absolutely necessary.
  • Don't park along the street.  Snowplow drivers can't fully clear a road if cars are in their way.
  • If you skid, don't hit the brakes! Ease off the accelerator and steer into the skid. If the back of your car is skidding to the left, for example, turn the steering wheel to the left. Steer slightly into the direction of the skid until you gain control. Turn with steady rather than jerky motions.
  • Don't pump your brakes, and avoid locking them up. If your brakes lock, take your foot off the brake pedal for a moment. If your car has an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and you must brake, be sure to press the brake pedal and hold.
  • If you're involved in a fender-bender, move the cars out of the lanes of travel.
  • While driving, keep your headlights on to increase your visibility to other motorists. Keep snow and ice off your mirrors, windows and lights.
  • As always, wears your seatbelts.