Winter Driving Tips
When the chilly temperatures of winter set in, will your vehicle be ready for the cold?
Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones
Always wear your seat belt every trip, every time—and ensure that everyone else in your vehicle is buckled-up in age- and size-appropriate car seats, booster seats, or seat belts.
Protect Your Children
• Remember that all children under age 13 should always ride properly buckled in the back seat.
• Make sure car seats and booster seats are properly installed and that any children riding with you are in the right seat for their ages and sizes. See NHTSA’s child passenger safety recommendations to find out how to select the right seat for your child’s age and size. To learn more and find a free car seat inspection station near you, please visit the Child Car Seat Inspection Station Locator.
• Though thick outerwear will keep your children warm, it can interfere with the proper harness fit on your child in a car seat. Choose thin, warm layers for your child instead, and place blankets or coats around your child after the harness is snug and secure for extra warmth.
• Never leave your child unattended in or around your vehicle. • Always remember to lock your vehicle and to keep your keys out of reach when exiting so children do not play or get trapped inside.
On the Road
Keep your gas tank close to full whenever possible, and, on longer trips, plan enough time to stop to stretch, get something to eat, return calls or text messages, and change drivers or rest if you feel drowsy.
Avoid Risky Driving Behaviors
You know the rules: Do not text or drive distracted; obey posted speed limits; and always drive sober. Both alcohol and drugs whether legal or illicit can cause impairment. It is illegal to drive impaired by any substance in all States – no exceptions. Alcohol and drugs can impair the skills critical for safe and responsible driving such as coordination, judgment, perception, and reaction time.
Driving in Winter Conditions
Slow down. It’s harder to control or stop your vehicle on a slick or snow covered surface.
Navigating Around Snow Plows
Don’t crowd a snow plow or travel beside it. Snow plows travel slowly, make wide turns, stop often, overlap lanes, and exit the road frequently. However, the road behind an active snow plow is safer to drive on. If you find yourself behind a snow plow, stay behind it or use caution when passing.
On the Road
What to Do in a Winter Emergency
If you are stopped or stalled in wintry weather, follow these safety rules:
• Stay with your car and don’t overexert yourself.
• Put bright markers on the antenna or windows and keep the interior dome light turned on.
• To avoid asphyxiation from carbon monoxide poisoning, don’t run your car for long periods of time with the windows up or in an enclosed space. If you must run your vehicle, clear the exhaust pipe of any snow and run it only sporadically — just long enough to stay warm.