Winter Driving Tips

Safe winter driving starts before you even get into your car, and that doesn't just mean clearing ice and snow out of sightlines. This involves a bit of mental prep as well.

With snow and ice covering much of the country, it’s time to take another look at some safe driving techniques that will help you negotiate hazardous roads and arrive at your destination safely.

According to AAA, safe winter driving starts before you even get into your car. Start by clearing all snow and ice from the vehicle. Not only do you want to have sightlines that are uncluttered by leftover ice or snow, but you’ll get a ticket in many states if your car sheds snow while cruising down the highway.

It also helps if you’re mentally prepared for the trip. Be aware that traffic is going to move more slowly and that your trip time is likely to be longer, sometimes a lot longer. Leaving more time to make the trip is essential. You should also plan your route so that you avoid side roads, which aren’t as likely to be cleared, as much as possible. Be alert for black ice, probably the most dangerous driving condition you’ll face. Don’t use cruise control on slick roads; it can misread a skid and rev up your engine when you want to slow down.

Make sure you have a survival kit in your car in case you do get stranded. Include basic items like a flashlight, flares, and a cell phone. Common sense can also help. Before getting on the road, ask yourself whether your trip is really necessary. And if government officials are advising motorists to stay off the roads, stay off the roads, unless you are faced with an absolute emergency.