Despite the weatherman’s best efforts, the first snowfall of the season always seems to come as a shock to drivers across the country. It’s like we all forgot how to drive in the snow while we were busy enjoying the summer sunshine. Now, as we start to see snowfall showing up in forecasts from coast-to-coast, it’s time to brush up on your winter driving skills. Here’s a few tips you’ll need to remember to make sure you stay safe when the snow starts to fly.

  • Winterize your car. This can range from getting winter tires put on to just going in for a check-up. Making sure your car is topped up with all the right fluids and is in good working order will help get you ready for anything winter may throw at you.
  • Get or build an emergency kit. Make sure it has all the first-aid essentials, including extra clothing and warm blankets. You may also want to consider a few snack items, such as granola bars, in case you have to wait out a storm on the side of the road.
  • Always drive for the conditions. The posted speed limits — on any road including highways and freeways — are for ideal conditions only. When snow and ice are involved, it’s always best to slow down. There could be any number of unseen hazards that could cause a lot of problems and put you at risk, so it’s best to just play it safe.
  • Keep cruise control for the summer. Just like making sure you are driving for the conditions, you want to be in control of your car at all times. When you’re using cruise control it can be tempting to slam on the brakes to slow your car down, as opposed to just taking your foot off the gas.
  • Gear down when going uphill or down a steep grade. This will help you to go at a slower, safer speed while helping your tires maintain traction.

Bonus tip!

Keep your gas tank more than halfway full. This helps to avoid problems caused by excess moisture in the gas tank during the colder months. It also can be a life saver if you have to stop in a snow storm.