Winter Driving

Dress in warm layers of clothing. Wear water proof footwear and warm socks. Be sure no skin is exposed to the cold when the wind chill temperature is very low.

Driving in Snow and Ice

The best advice for driving in bad winter weather is not to drive at all, if you can avoid it.

Don’t go out until the snow plows and sanding trucks have had a chance to do their work, and allow yourself extra time to reach your destination.

If you must drive in snowy conditions, make sure your car is prepared and that you know how to handle road conditions. Here are some suggestions for making sure you and your car are ready for winter:

http://www.beready.iowa.gov/be_aware/winter_weather.html

Always check road conditions before traveling. Most highways and their driving conditions are tracked by the Iowa Department of Transportation. This includes a graded system (good conditions, partially wet, snow covered, ice covered) and you can see the conditions yourself by viewing fixed camera feeds that are placed on highways. 

See more at: http://lb.511ia.org/ialb/winterdriving/routeselect.jsf

It’s helpful to practice winter driving techniques in a snowy, open parking lot, so you’re familiar with how your car handles. Consult your owner’s manual for tips specific to your vehicle.

Driving Safely on Icy Roads

  • Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
  • Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
  • Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
  • Keep your lights and windshield clean.
  • Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
  • Don’t use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
  • Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.
  • Don’t pass snow plows and sanding trucks. The drivers have limited visibility, and you’re likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.
  • Don’t assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.

Be prepared with a “survival kit” that should always remain in the car. Replenish after use. Essential supplies include:

  • Working flashlight and extra batteries
  • Reflective triangles and brightly-colored cloth to use as a flag in case your vehicle is immobilized
  • Small snow shovel
  • Jumper cables
  • Cat litter or sand to place underneath your tire(s) for traction to get out of snow when your car is stuck
  • Compass
  • First aid kit
  • Exterior windshield cleaner
  • Ice scraper and snow brush
  • Wooden stick matches in a waterproof container
  • Scissors and string/cord
  • Non-perishable, high-energy foods like unsalted canned nuts, dried fruits, and hard candy
  • Small candle
In addition, if you are driving long distances under cold, snowy, and icy conditions, you should also carry supplies to keep you warm such as heavy woolen mittens, socks, a cap and blankets. Avoid driving long distances during the night, it tends to be colder and the roads are harder to see.

If you have access to a television or computer, it would be beneficial to check the weather daily. This will allow you to prepare for any severe weather that may occur the next day.

If You Become Stranded…

Do not leave your car unless you know exactly where you are, how far it is to help, and are certain you will improve your situation. The chances of somebody finding you are better than you venturing out on your own and possibly getting lost.

Winter Driving

Dress in warm layers of clothing. Wear water proof footwear and warm socks. Be sure no skin is exposed to the cold when the wind chill temperature is very low.

Driving in Snow and Ice

The best advice for driving in bad winter weather is not to drive at all, if you can avoid it.

Don’t go out until the snow plows and sanding trucks have had a chance to do their work, and allow yourself extra time to reach your destination.

If you must drive in snowy conditions, make sure your car is prepared and that you know how to handle road conditions. Here are some suggestions for making sure you and your car are ready for winter:

http://www.beready.iowa.gov/be_aware/winter_weather.html

Always check road conditions before traveling. Most highways and their driving conditions are tracked by the Iowa Department of Transportation. This includes a graded system (good conditions, partially wet, snow covered, ice covered) and you can see the conditions yourself by viewing fixed camera feeds that are placed on highways. 

See more at: http://lb.511ia.org/ialb/winterdriving/routeselect.jsf

It’s helpful to practice winter driving techniques in a snowy, open parking lot, so you’re familiar with how your car handles. Consult your owner’s manual for tips specific to your vehicle.

Driving Safely on Icy Roads

  • Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
  • Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
  • Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
  • Keep your lights and windshield clean.
  • Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
  • Don’t use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
  • Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.
  • Don’t pass snow plows and sanding trucks. The drivers have limited visibility, and you’re likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.
  • Don’t assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.

Be prepared with a “survival kit” that should always remain in the car. Replenish after use. Essential supplies include:

  • Working flashlight and extra batteries
  • Reflective triangles and brightly-colored cloth to use as a flag in case your vehicle is immobilized
  • Small snow shovel
  • Jumper cables
  • Cat litter or sand to place underneath your tire(s) for traction to get out of snow when your car is stuck
  • Compass
  • First aid kit
  • Exterior windshield cleaner
  • Ice scraper and snow brush
  • Wooden stick matches in a waterproof container
  • Scissors and string/cord
  • Non-perishable, high-energy foods like unsalted canned nuts, dried fruits, and hard candy
  • Small candle
In addition, if you are driving long distances under cold, snowy, and icy conditions, you should also carry supplies to keep you warm such as heavy woolen mittens, socks, a cap and blankets. Avoid driving long distances during the night, it tends to be colder and the roads are harder to see.

If you have access to a television or computer, it would be beneficial to check the weather daily. This will allow you to prepare for any severe weather that may occur the next day.

If You Become Stranded…

Do not leave your car unless you know exactly where you are, how far it is to help, and are certain you will improve your situation. The chances of somebody finding you are better than you venturing out on your own and possibly getting lost.