How to Prepare for Driving in Winter Weather

Winter is here, and that means you have to be more careful than ever when driving. More than 70% of U.S. roads are located in snowy regions, making it critical for drivers to follow safety guidelines to prepare for winter driving. Here are some tips that can help you stay safe this winter:

What to Keep in Your Car

Before you set out, make sure you have the following in your car in case of an emergency:

  • Blankets
  • Extra winter clothing and boots
  • Cell phone charger
  • Flares
  • First aid kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Bag of sand or cat litter to help with tire traction
  • Ice scraper
  • Non-perishable, high-energy foods
  • Bottled water or juice
  • Flashlight (and extra batteries)
  • Shovel
  • Small tool kit
  • Radio (and extra batteries)
  • Extra windshield fluid


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How to Prep Your Vehicle

To prepare your vehicle for driving during the winter months, be sure to:

  • Get a tune-up, including oil change, battery check and fluid refills.
  • Check your headlights, tail lights and turn signals. Replace foggy, hazy or damaged lens covers to improve visibility.
  • Check your windshield wipers. Replace wipers if they leave streaks of water on the windshield or show signs of cracking or stiffness.
  • Check your exhaust. Replace or repair any leaks or crimped pipes.

Winter Driving Tips

Keep these tips in mind when driving in the winter:

  • Let the engine warm up before you begin driving.
  • Keep up with weather reports for your area. Allow extra driving time for weather delays.
  • Keep your windows, headlights, tail lights and brake lights clear of snow and ice.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full to prevent fuel line freeze-up.
  • Leave plenty of room between you and the driver in front of you.
  • Lubricate door locks with a silicone spray or door lock lubricant to prevent freezing.
  • Drive with extra caution on bridges and overpasses, as these can become icy before roads.

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