Winter Driving Refresher

Winter Driving Refresher
Posted on 12/07/2021
Whether you're a seasoned veteran or it's your first winter driving, driving safely in Minnesota's winter weather can be challenging. The following tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration help provide a refresher on driving safely in winter conditions.

Ready Your Vehicle
Safe winter driving begins before you even get on the road. Regular tuneups and maintenance are the starting point for safe driving year-round. In winter, pay special attention to your vehicle's battery, wipers, coolant, tires, and other systems that can take a beating when the temperature drops. If you're using snow tires, have them installed before the snow begins to fall. When you know your vehicle is ready for the road, clear your car of snow, ice or dirt from the windows, forward sensors, headlights, taillights and backup camera.

Ready Yourself
Drive slowly. It's harder to control or stop your vehicle on a slick or snow-covered road. Increase your following distance enough so that you'll have plenty of time to stop for vehicles ahead of you. Also, remember that every vehicle handles differently; this is particularly true when driving on wet, icy or snowy roads. Take the time to learn how it operates under winter weather driving conditions. Before heading out, know the weather and traffic conditions, and plan your route accordingly. Give yourself more time to get where you're going because you'll be driving more slowly in inclement weather.

Ready for an Emergency
Even if you thoroughly prepare, crashes happen. Vehicles break down. Any of us can get caught out in the elements, and help might not be just around the corner. Make sure to stock your vehicle with items to help get you out of trouble or keep you safe until help arrives. Keep blankets, flashlights, jumper cables, and flares or emergency lights in your vehicle. Even if you don't need them, having these items on hand may help someone else in need on the road.

Safe Driving: Rain, Sleet, Snow or Otherwise
Winter driving demands special care; safe driving is a year-round habit. You and everyone in your vehicle should be wearing seat belts for every ride. Children should be in age- and size-appropriate child seats. Never drive after drinking. Never drive when distracted by an electronic device or anything else. Those are the essentials for safe driving, whatever the weather.