Snow Safety: Tips for Winter Driving

Posted: December 8, 2021 | Categories: Tips for Car Owners

man scraping snow off car

Snow is beautiful, but I like it best when I’m inside with a book, a blanket, and a cup of tea. Unfortunately, we all must venture out into the tundra – so let’s make sure your vehicle is winter ready.

Fully clear your windshield and windows
I can’t believe how often I see people drive by with a tiny circle on the windshield and three feet of snow on their car. What are they doing?! Start the engine, turn on the defrost (high temp and fan speed), and brush the snow off. Invest in a high-quality scraper to remove ice from your windows. Don’t forget to clean the headlights and taillights. A few extra minutes removing snow and ice from your vehicle may save you and other drivers from an accident.

Change out wipers and fluid
While we’re talking about visibility, it’s important to check your windshield wipers. Professionals recommend changing wiper blades twice per year, and it’ll be easier to do before the snow comes. Some wipers are designed specifically for winter, minimizing the amount of ice that can stick to the blade. Talk to your local auto shop for advice on the best ones. Make sure you refill the wiper fluid too!

Check your tires
Cold weather affects tire pressure, so perform monthly checks and refill your air to the level recommended for your vehicle. For tread – stick a penny in the tire (head down). If you can see Abe’s head, it’s close to replacement time. My dad taught me that 😊

Snow tires may be a good option if you’re feeling anxious about driving this winter. The extra traction they provide in snow, slush, and icy conditions may save you from an accident.

Brake early
It takes longer to slow down on snow-covered roads, so maintain a safe distance (6-8 car lengths) between you and other vehicles. Brake early and gradually, using gentle pressure on the pedal to avoid sudden sliding. If you do start to skid, don’t panic! Remove your foot from the gas and steer slightly into the direction of the skid. Your car will start to slow itself down and regain traction. Try practicing in an empty parking lot to improve your skills!

Be prepared
Winter weather is unpredictable. Keep your gas tank at least half full, just in case a 30-minute trip turns into 3 hours. Stock your car with emergency supplies such as water, snacks, hat/gloves, blanket, flashlight, a small shovel, first aid kit, and jumper cables. Sand or kitty litter is also useful if your tires get stuck in the snow.

Minimize distractions
People forget how to drive in the snow, so be extra cautious by reducing your speed and turning/merging carefully. Don’t text and drive – if you need to reach someone immediately, pull over and contact them. Lastly, have another cocktail at the Christmas party but be smart and call an Uber to take you home.

Is your car ready for winter? Schedule a multi-point maintenance check at one of our shops today!

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