Safe Driving Tips for Winter

No one ever plans to have car trouble. These things often happen when we’re least prepared for them. Winter is the worst time to find yourself stranded by the side of the road, and that season is right around the corner. If you live in a place that known for harsh winters, our general advice is to only drive when you have to. This isn’t always practical advice though because we all lead busy lives. Since you’re probably going to be on the road this winter, we might as well share some winter driving tips to help keep you safe out there.

Tips for Driving in the Snow

As we stated earlier, the best winter driving tip is to stay off the roads as much as possible when it snows. If you don’t really need to go out, then don’t. Let’s say you realize that you’re out of half-and-half at 9 PM, and there’s a polar vortex in the skies above your city. Is your morning cup of coffee really worth risking an accident for? Or would it be better to stop at the store in the morning? My vote is going to the store the next day, preferably after the snow has stopped falling and the emergency crews have plowed and salted the roads.

  • If you absolutely have to drive in severe winter weather, trying following these tips:
  • Get your brakes checked before winter hits. If you need new pads and/or rotors, get them right away.
  • Have a qualified mechanic check other areas of your vehicle, such as front-end alignments, tire treads, etc.
  • Drive slower than normal to account for the lose of traction on snowy and icy roads.
  • Increase your following distance behind other vehicles. Remember, your vehicle might slide on icy roads if you have to make a sudden stop.
  • Since it can be hard to get going after a full stop, try to avoid it whenever it’s safe to do so. For example, slowing down for stop signs and red lights. This can help prevent you from getting stuck on snowy/icy roads.
  • Make sure your cell phone is charged and with you before heading out on the roads. If you get into trouble, communication is key.

Breaking Down on Winter Roads

Even though winter weather contributes to bad driving conditions, it’s still a time when many people take long-distance trips. This usually coincides with the holidays, where people drive for hours to break bread with their families. It’s not uncommon to see cars stranded in snow drifts or broken down on the side of the road in December. The tips we shared above can and should be used in these situations too. Here are some additional safety tips to use if you ever find yourself in a bad way on these winter roads:

  • If you’re going to see friends or family, let them know your route, destination, and estimated arrival time.
  • If you get stuck in the snow, stay with your vehicle. Walking in severe winter storms puts you at risk for developing frostbite and getting lost.
  • If your vehicle is still running, make sure you clear the exhaust pipe of snow, ice, or mud. This helps keep carbon monoxide gas from leaking into your car while the engine is running.
  • If you try to dig your vehicle out of the snow, don’t overdo it. This can put you at risk for a heart attack, exhaustion, and other ailments.
  • Remember to stay warm while you’re waiting for assistance. Safety experts recommend packing blankets, hats, and gloves when taking long trips.
  • It’s best to conserve fuel if you’re waiting by the side of the road. Be sure to run your engine and heater long enough to remove the chill.
  • Let other drivers know where you are by staying visible. Back in the day, this used to mean lighting flares and sticking them into the pavement. These days, LED safety flares are much easier and safer for any driver to use.

Two More Things…

…Because some winter road emergency are worse than others. You could sideswiped by another driver who’s lost control of their vehicle on icy roads. If that happens, you might find yourself trapped inside your car or SUV. Do you have a tool to cut your seatbelt and shatter a window so you can get out? As much as I hate to say it, this is a tool that every driver should have. You never know when you might find yourself trapped inside your vehicle.

You know what’s another safety device that every vehicle should have? That’s backup cameras. Did you know that nearly 300 people die and 18,000 are injured in back-over accidents? Many of those who are hurt or killed are children. It’s also common to crash into other vehicles when you’re backing up. We bring this up because slamming on the brakes during the winter isn’t always enough to prevent a collision. It’s better to check your six before you shift into reverse, and a backup camera is the best way to do that.

Need Vehicle Safety Devices?

Reach out to Solid Signal. We carry a variety of auto safety devices in our well stocked online inventory. Our staff is extremely helpful. If you have questions or need help with anything we offer, call us at 888-233-7563. Sure, we can help you find the best safety devices for your vehicle. And since we’re the recognized online expert in TV antennas and cord-cutting, we can help you there, too. You can also fill out the form below and send it to us. Just tell us how we can help and one of our reps will contact you in one business day or less.

About the Author

Jake Buckler
Jake Buckler is a cord-cutter, consumer electronics geek, and Celtic folk music fan. Those qualities, and his writing experience, helped him land a copywriting gig at Signal Group, LLC. He also contributes to The Solid Signal Blog.