Driving tips for winter driving

Few road conditions can hamper your everyday drive like snow. Unpredictable winter weather like heavy snowfall and ice are tough to manage. However, you can learn a few safety tips for winter driving to build more confidence behind the wheel.

Safety tips

Get a set of winter tires

If you have a set already, good for you. If you don't, you can still get them. Winter tires work better than any other tire in the snow and on ice. It's a fact. For tires that really do the job in winter conditions, check out the Discoverer® Snow Claw™. To identify a winter tire, look for the three peak mountain snowflake symbol on the sidewall of the tire.

Pack an emergency kit

While you'll hopefully never need to use it, keeping these in your vehicle can come in handy. Make sure to include: gloves, battery jumper cables, a small shovel, small tool kit, a first aid kit, flashlight with new batteries, snow scraper , a blanket, water bottles and non-perishable energy foods.

Check the weather and road conditions

Before you leave on an extended trip or to run an errand, check the forecast for inclimate weather. Plus, choose your route to know exactly where you're going. It'll help you get to your destination sooner and with less stress.

Keep a safe distance behind snowplows

If you can't see the side mirrors of a plow truck, the driver cannot see you. Snowplow drivers don't always have the best visibility, and their snow blade can create snow clouds that might reduce your ability to see the road.

Slow down and be patient

Yes, sometimes it can be frustrating driving in snow, but you should always keep a cool head. Drive according to road conditions and take a safe approach to the road.

Clear snow and ice from your vehicle

Make sure your windows, mirrors, lights and roof are clear of ice and snow before you begin driving. You don't want to hamper your visibility or make it difficult for other drivers to see.

Keep a full gas tank

A full tank of gas can help reduce moisture in the fuel system and help to prevent fuel line freeze up. Also, you don't want to get stranded in the snow because you didn't fill up before hitting the road.

Keep emergency numbers handy and travel with a fully-charged cellphone

If you subscribe to a roadside assistance plan, keep the number where you can easily find it. And be sure to leave the house with a fully charged battery in your cellphone — even if you can charge it in your vehicle.

Wear comfortable clothes

It's always a good idea to layer up in cold weather, but wearing too many layers in your vehicle might restrict your movement. You don't want any issues checking your blind spot or moving around your vehicle.

Know your vehicle 

How your vehicle responds to a skid depends on whether it has rear wheel, front-wheel or four-wheel drive. If you have an anti-lock braking system (ABS), make sure you know how to use it correctly.

Don’t Spin Your Tires

If you get stuck in the snow, spinning your tires too fast can be dangerous. Excessive tire spinning in the snow can literally cause your tire to explode. When you find yourself stuck in the snow, sit back and “cool it”. Call for towing service. This will avoid potential damage to your tire or vehicle and possible personal injury.

For more information on tire spinning check out this Service Bulletin about wheel spinning in wet conditions.

Final tip: if the weather is so bad that you're not sure if you should drive, you shouldn't, stay home and keep safe. Wait out the snow and drive when you're comfortable.