Be a Winter Wise Driver

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Reliable transportation is especially important in the winter. If you have a car, make sure it is ready for whatever winter may bring. The following precautions may help you avoid an unpleasant or dangerous situation while traveling.

You should keep your car in top operating condition all year round. It is especially important to winterize you car by checking the following:

  • Ignition system, fuel system, brakes, battery, exhaust system, wiper blades, lights, antifreeze, defroster, tire tread, proper grade oil, snow tires, cooling system, heater, and chains.
  • Keep the gasoline tank full, if possible.
  • Carry a winter storm car kit, especially if traveling long distances. Among other things, a winter storm kit should include:
    • Matches and candles , first-aid kit, flashlight, shovel, tire chains, food supply, transistor radio, jumper cables, and sleeping bag

If you must use your car during a winter storm:

  • Plan your travel
  • Check the latest weather information on your NOAA weather radio
  • Slow down and increase your following distance. The braking distance for road surfaces with rain, snow, and ice can be from three to nine times greater than stopping distances on dry, clear roads. Icy conditions may also obscure lane marking and traffic signs.
  • Remember a bridge or overpass gets slick and icy before the roads do since bridge temperatures are five to six degrees colder than the roadway.
  • Stop gradually. Do not make any sudden moves with the steering wheel, brakes or accelerator.

If at all possible, stay off the roads when winter weather warnings or advisories are issued. is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.