winter_driving
active family travel,  family

Winter Driving Travel Tips – Staying Safe in the Snow and Cold

Winter driving tips are super important for so many areas of the world. It’s that time of year. The weather is frigid, the snow is falling, and along with all of that, the ice is here. Traveling in winter is about staying safe and protected from all of these things – ice, snow, and cold. These winter driving tips will help you get where you’re going and get there safe.

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Winter Driving Tips to Keep You Safe

In my opinion, one of the biggest contributors to winter accidents is that people forget that you need to approach driving differently in the winter time. The cold, snow, and ice all present their own unique challenges to drivers and staying safe, and if you don’t respect these factors, you could be in for a dangerous situation. With that being said, lets take a look at how to stay safe in our vehicles this winter.

General Winter Driving Tips

There are some things to remember on a general level when driving in the winter months. These overall safety rules will help you stay safe as you prepare to hit the road and on the road itself.

  • Never run your car to heat it up in an enclosed space like the garage.
  • Be sure you tires are properly inflated. (I just took mine in because they were registering low and we are driving a lot over the winter.)
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full.
  • Avoid using the parking break in extremely cold weather.
  • NEVER use cruise control in winter weather conditions.
  • Look and steer where you want to go.
  • Always wear your seat belt. (If you don’t already know this then I can’t help you.)

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Long Distance Winter Driving Tips

  • Plan around the weather. Watch weather reports, and delay trips if the weather looks too bad.
  • Always make sure family and friends know where you’re going and the route you’re taking.
  • Have a complete inspection done on your car before taking any trip.
  • Keep a cell phone, blankets, hats, food, water, and any necessary medications in the vehicle in case of being stranded.
  • Stay with your vehicle if you get stuck. Your car or truck offers shelter and warmth. It also makes it easier for rescuers to find you.
  • If you become stuck, tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna to signal distress. Keep your dome light on at night if possible to make it easier to locate you.
  • Always be sure that no ice, mud, or snow is clogging the exhaust. A clogged exhaust can lead to carbon monoxide leaking into your vehicle’s passenger area.
  • If you become stuck, run the engine just long enough to warm the interior and then turn off the engine. This keeps you warm while conserving gas.

Winter Driving Tips for the Snow

  • Go slow. Accelerating and decelerating slowly gives you better traction and more control. This applies to steering, as well.
  • Increase normal following length of 3 to 4 seconds to 8 to 10 seconds to allow plenty of stopping time.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. This ties directly into going slow. For example, begin coasting well before a stop light in the hopes of it changing to green before you have to come to a complete stop.
  • Don’t power up hills. Adding more gas only increases the chances of skidding. Instead build up a bit – A BIT – of speed before the hill and allow that extra speed to carry you up the hill.
  • NEVER stop while going up a hill unless absolutely necessary. In slick conditions, this can lead to getting stuck.
  • Perhaps the biggest of all winter driving tips. If you don’t have to drive, don’t. Stay home and stay safe.

Winter Driving Tips to Keep You and Yours Safe

The above winter driving tips can help keep you and yours safe during the cold, slick winter months. Stay home if you can. If you can’t, follow these winter driving tips to help you get where you need to go and get there safe and sound.

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.

20 Comments

  • Marysa

    I live in Upstate NY, and we get a lot of winter conditions. It can be so nerve-wracking to have to drive in slippery conditions. These are all great tips. I wish more people would think about things like slowing down well in advance of a stop and leaving ample room between cars!

  • Jeanette

    These are awesome tips when I lived in the north we followed almost everything on each of these list. You definitely do not want to underestimate old man winter.

  • Heather

    I’m glad I have all weather tires, a snow blower and four wheel drive. I try really hard to stay off the roads until they are fully plowed, but sometimes you just have to brave it and get somewhere, like the hospital if its an emergency.

  • Eloise

    ahhh yes! great tips! It’s funny that people living in snowy cold winter states still don’t know how to really drive safe in the winter months! These are accurate and important tips too follow for ALL people (even those with 4 wheel drive and big SUV’s!)

  • Ann Bacciaglia

    These are great tips for driving in the Winter time. I always make sure I have an emergency kit in the car in case we run into trouble.

  • Claudia Krusch

    I hate to drive in the Winter. I just made an emergency kit for the car. I make sure I get my car maintained so I know it is in good shape.

  • Carol Bryant

    I remember learning to drive all those years ago and my dad telling me to be careful of the other drive, especially in winter weather. I never forgot that. You gave so many fantastic tips – and I just get nervous on ice. Yikes.

  • michele d

    I live in Florida so we don’t get the weather like you do up north but great tires are so important to have during winter.

  • Rebecca Swenor

    These are great tips for winter driving and staying safe. It is so important not to start your car in a garage where above it is a living area. Another great tip is be aware of everything going on around you and stay at a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. Thanks for sharing the awesome winter driving tips.

  • uprunforlife

    I typically stay home when it is nasty outside. Of course, I don’t live up north either. We get snow every once in a while, like this past Friday. It gets icy here and people panic.

  • Kerri Olkjer

    I grew up in Colorado and now live in Idaho, but I still agree with your last tip. If I don’t absolutely have to drive I just don’t. Lol. I’d rather sit in and watch it snow.

  • My Teen Guide

    The tires can be tricky when you feel them since although they don’t really harden, they get to that feeling where you think they’re good for the road. And yes, no heating up in a garage! Good article!

  • Lynndee

    You’re so right about that – if you don’t have to drive, just stay home. But we do have an important trip coming soon. I do hope it won’t snow. Fingers crossed! ­čÖé Thanks for the great tips!

  • Chrystal | Nevermore Lane

    For the longest time I was really afraid to drive in the snow. I went from living in Oklahoma most of my life to moving up here in Michigan. Oklahoma winters are 3 weeks and up here, its like 5 months sometimes. I think I finally got over my fear by actually following a few of these tips here which were suggest to me. Driving slow is a big thing, especially when it is snowing. A lot of people don’t follow that rule, though.