Winter Driving: A Survival Guide for Drivers

driving on a snowy road

Winter driving can be a challenging and often intimidating experience, especially for those who live in areas with heavy snow and ice. It’s also a terrifying experience for anyone that’s coming from milder climates during a trip, such as during the holidays. However, with the right knowledge and preparation, you can safely navigate the winter roads and arrive at your destination without incident.

In this blog post, we will provide you with valuable tips and information to help you stay safe while driving during the winter.

Slow Down

During winter, roads are often covered in snow and ice, making them more slippery and less predictable. Driving too fast on these roads can lead to skidding or loss of control, so it’s important to slow down and take your time.

Reduce your speed and give yourself plenty of time to react to changing road conditions.

It may take a few extra minutes to get to your destination… but at least you get to your destination.

Increase Following Distance

Since it takes longer to stop on slippery roads, it’s important to keep a greater distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. This will allow you more time to react to any sudden changes in traffic or road conditions, and also help to avoid a rear-end collision.

In ideal conditions, you’re usually following about 2+ car lengths behind the person in front. For winter driving, it’s recommended you increase this to 4 (or even 5) car lengths to provide yourself with ample stoppage time.

Use Winter Tires

Winter tires are designed to provide better traction and handling in cold weather conditions, particularly on snow and ice. They are made with special rubber compounds and tread designs that are optimized for winter driving. If you live in an area with heavy snow and ice, consider investing in winter tires for improved traction and braking.

If you can’t afford winter tires then two options can include:

  • All season tires
  • Snow chains

All season tires are a good investment if you’re in an area that has all 4 seasons. They may not provide as much traction as winter tires but they’ll certainly provide better performance than ones just for summer!

Alternatively, you could always attach snow chains to your vehicle’s tires for additional grip. However, you’ll want to check with your local laws and regulations since you can often only use these during peak winter days/weeks so that you’re not tearing up the roadways!

Clear Snow and Ice From Your Vehicle

Before driving, clear all snow and ice from your car, including the roof, windows, and mirrors, to ensure maximum visibility. Snow and ice on your roof can fly off and hit other drivers, and it can also obstruct your view when driving.

Clearing all snow and ice from your car will help ensure that you can see and be seen while driving.

Use Your Headlights

Turning on your headlights can increase your visibility and make it easier for other drivers to see you. Even if it’s daylight, using your headlights can help make you more visible on the road, particularly in low light and snowy conditions.

Most cars, these days, have automatic headlights but it’s always good to double-check. In fact, you should probably take a moment to check all your vehicle’s lights to ensure they’re working properly (brakes, turning signals, etc) so that you can drive safely and signal safely for all those around you.

Avoid Sudden Movements

Sudden braking, accelerating, or turning can cause your car to lose traction on slippery roads, leading to skidding or sliding. Instead, make slow, deliberate movements when driving on winter roads.

Avoid slamming on the brakes or accelerator, and take corners at speeds you’re most comfortable with.


Try not to feel intimidated by someone riding close behind you. Go the speed limit and take your time — especially during rough conditions — because it’s certainly not worth putting yourself at risk just because of what the jerk is doing behind you!

Stay Safe Out There

Driving during the winter can be a harrowing experience.

The ice, snow, and slush can make roads super slick and dangerous. But, with a good head on your shoulders and careful practice behind the wheel, you’ll get to your destination without issue. Use the information and tips in this winter driving survival guide to help you navigate those roadways, not only for yourself but also for the safety of others.