Published on February 15, 2021

Winter Driving Tips

Ice

Many Southerners have little experience driving in snow. Here are a few tips I learned from my years growing up in Montana.

Realize you and your human cargo are loved. Drive like it.

  • Only drive if you have to.
  • Do not text and drive.
  • Prepare each trip with the thought if I get stuck will I be prepared? This means taking water, blankets, food, boots, hat, gloves and coat.
  • If you have it, carry sand and a shovel.
  • Driving with emergency flashers is of little value and distracting. Other drivers may think you are stopped and react inappropriately when they suddenly realize you aren’t.
  • Plan your route—hills where there is a stop sign at the bottom are treacherous. Choose a different route.
  • Even though our brakes pulsate, gently pumping your breaks prior to a stop lets you slowly roll to a stop.
  • Do not assume others with a stop sign will stop. Drive defensively at all times.
  • Shoulders are not solid—avoid pulling off onto the road’s shoulders.
  • Bridges can be a different temperature than the road. Try not to turn, brake or accelerate on a bridge.
  • Do not tailgate. Allow three to four seconds between yourself and the car ahead of you. You can calculate this by counting to yourself from when they pass a mile marker or sign and when you do.
  • Use your blinkers. Even in the daytime hours, drive with your lights on.
  • If you have a truck or rear wheel drive, weight in the back is essential. Filling your truck bed with some type of weight (sandbags, dumbbells, etc.) makes a huge difference.
  • Lastly, realize you and your human cargo are loved. Drive like it.

Follow these simple rules and you may not only save your life or your car, but someone else’s as well.