Winter Driving Tips

Posted on Sunday, Nov 25, 2018
Do a Google search and you will find hundreds of articles all giving you basically the same winter driving tips. But I’m going to give you some that you wont find anywhere else.

Show Notes

Everybody says the same things over and over. Be ready - Have a winter kit, get snow tires, yada yada, yada. but I’m going to be different. I’m going to tell you some tips that others dont. The link to the National Safety Council below tells you some similar things I am and its the best link out of the 3.

NSC”s tips

  • Check weather
  • Prepare
  • Know How to Avoid a crash
  • Dont forget these


Pretrip, Pretrip, Pretrip! More important than any other time of the year!!!!

  • Ignition -start your vehicle and let it warm up 10-15 minutes before driving. Longer in colder weather.
  • Brakes -Make sure they arent frozen, fluid leaks(car), air leaks(truck), etc
  • Have a cell phone
  • Wiring - No broken, loose or worn insulation
  • Hoses and fan belts - Are they tight? Not worn or tearing.
  • Air, fuel and emissions filters - Diesel filters are notorius for freezing in cold weather. Trucks your DEF tank has a heater because you cant add any antifreeze to DEF. Use diesel treat in diesel fuel even if it’s only near freezing temps. Improves engine performance.
  • Batteries - No corrosion on terminals
  • Tire wear and air pressure - Over/under inflated tires can cause serious problems with traction.
  • Antifreeze level and freeze line - Are you running the proper type of coolant for the weather?
  • Windsheild fluid - Is it the subzero kind? If you dont have any you can add rubbing alcohol to it.
  • Emergency kit - Including a change of clothes and food/water.
  • Check the weather and traffic conditions
  • Have a damn CB radio and turn it on!
  • Use a traffic app on your phone. Waze, Google Maps, etc
  • Dont use your defroster! Keep the heat on the floor.
  • Roll windows down about 14 of the way.
  • Keep your coat on and wear gloves.
  • Keep your wipers moving. The friction helps them to not freeze up. If they start bouncing then turn them on delay.

Drivng while it is snowing

  • Know the kind of snow you are in.
  • Dry powder at lower temps (teens to minus 0F) are the best. Lots of traction.
  • Wet sloppy slush near 32F sucks the most. Unless you have alot of weight.
  • Wet snow below 20F is ok but sucks because road salt doesnt work as well at those temps. During the day is all right with the sun but after dark watch out because packed snow turns to ice.

The key to driving in snow and ice is to maintain a constant momentum. Especially if the snow is geeting deep. Any sudden change in speed of any axle can cause a slide. That is how a jackknife happens. Speed is absolutely important. Too much and you will slide, too little you are stuck and a sitting duck for the person behind you.

  • Start and stop slowly
  • Keep extra following distance
  • Keep your wheels moving. Even at a slow crawl. Dont stop otherwise you might not get going again.
  • Stay off the brakes!** DONT TAP THEM JUST TO SEE IF IT’S ICY!!**
  • Dont tap the brakes on a bridge, overpass or if you see ice or going through a drift.
  • Dont use the cruise control.
  • Use engine brake sparingly.
  • In a truck or with a trailer react the opposite of what you would do without one, Dont turn into the slide. The idea is to keep as much of the truck under the trailer to keep the weight on the drive tires. Most of the time you can come out of jackknife by simply taking your foot off the brake and accelerating. But not too much otherwise you could increase the speed of the jackknife.
  • If you see spray, you’re ok! But still use extreme caution.

If you do wipe out stay in your vehicle unless it is neccessary to get out. Watch for other traffic to wipe out where you just did. Do not attempt to push yoursef out. Get help

LINKS AAA US News National Safety Council