Winter officially starts on December 21, but most years we have winter weather before that. Here are some winter safe driving tips. Buckle up and please, drive carefully.
Before you leave home, be prepared:
Before you move your car, clear ALL the snow and ice from it. Ice and snow flying off your car can cause driving distractions for you and other drivers. It could hit and damage other vehicles or cause a crash.
Are you wearing clothing that is warm enough for weather conditions? A jacket, gloves, hat, and boots are essential on a winter day. A spare blanket in your car would be welcome in case you get stuck.
Do you have snow removal equipment in your vehicle? An ice scraper and snow brush for uncovering your car and a shovel might be needed for digging out of snow banks.
Is your vehicle ready for winter?
How's the tread on your vehicles' tires?
Is the recommended amount of antifreeze in the radiator?
Is the windshield washer reservoir full?
If you have been driving on salted and sanded roads, have you cleaned off your lights and windows?
Will the heater and defroster clear icy and fogged windows?
And do you have enough gas just in case you get stuck in slow moving traffic?
Make sure each passenger is properly buckled up - in a seat belt, a size-appropriate child safety seat or child restraint system.
Warm up the car so the defroster has a chance to clear the windows. Clear ice and snow from your vehicle (including the roof) for improved visibility and for the safety of motorists sharing the road with you.
In winter, with more hours of darkness and weather conditions that limit visibility, be sure to have your head lights on.
Match your speed to the road conditions. Don't try to pass or weave in and out of traffic.
Leave plenty of room between your vehicle and the one ahead of you. Pay attention to what other drivers are doing. You can't stop quickly on snowy, icy roads.
Familiarize yourself with the vehicles you drive before you need to try to make a quick stop. For more information see Vehicle Issues.
Remember that bridges and ramps freeze before road surfaces.
Drivers must use care when approaching an emergency vehicles that display red and/or white emergency lights or a hazard vehicle that displays amber warning lights.
Drivers must reduce speed for emergency and hazard vehicles on all roads and highways.
On parkways, interstates, and other controlled access highways with multiple lanes, drivers must move from the lane immediately adjacent to the emergency vehicle or hazard vehicle, unless traffic or other hazards exist to prevent doing so safely.
When the storm is over:
Remove all the snow from your vehicle.
Don't plow or shovel the snow from your walk or driveway into the road. It's unsafe and illegal.
Blowing and drifting snow will cause icy road conditions.
During the day, ice and snow melt. As temperatures fall, melted ice and snow refreeze on the roadways.