Brush up on winter driving skills!

Winterize your car.

  • Harsh weather conditions are a strain on vehicles as well as drivers. Confirm your mode of transportation is in top form by having a mechanic test engine performance, battery function, and brakes. Winterize fluid reservoirs. Replace worn windshield wiper blades and tires. Check tire pressure regularly, and inflate as needed. Verify headlights, taillights, and blinkers all work properly. Top off the gas tank well before the low fuel warning light comes on.

Clear windshield and external cameras.

  • An unobstructed view is critical when driving in poor weather. Limited visibility prevents you from seeing other vehicles and road hazards. Keep an ice scraper and snow broom in the car. Remove ice and snow from windshield and camera lenses before sliding behind the steering wheel.

Understand vehicle capabilities.

  • Most cars are equipped with safety features these days. Find out if your vehicle has traction control, anti-lock brakes, front-wheel drive, etc. and know how these systems work. Cruise control is nice, but not recommended in winter conditions.

Adjust driving habits to deteriorating roadways.

  • Slow down. Accelerate gradually and apply brakes gently. Watch for black ice on bridges, overpasses, and shaded areas. Stay a safe distance from other vehicles so you have time to react to an unexpected situation.

Know how to respond to a skid or spinout.

  • Slick spots may challenge your ability to keep the vehicle under control. Steer in the direction of a skid or slide. Focus on where you want to go rather than the obstacle to avoid.

Allow extra time to reach your destination.

  • Leave earlier than usual to accommodate unexpected road conditions. Avoid pressure from others on the roadway to give up your safe driving practices.

Be organized.

  • Plan your route and adjust the vehicle mapping system before leaving home. Call ahead for weather conditions and let a trusted friend or family member know you are on the road. Pack emergency safety gear in case you get stuck midway.

Minimize distractions.

  • Fully concentrate on driving. Avoid using the cell phone, adjusting temperature and radio controls, tending to children, eating, drinking, or other activities that take focus away from the task at hand. Always wear a seatbelt and insist passengers do the same.