How to drive in snow, ice


TULSA, Okla. — Drivers should avoid the roads as much as possible during and after a winter storm.

However, those who have to deal with tough road conditions should make sure they are prepared for snow and ice.

Carrying an emergency kit or a “travel bag” will be important for long trips in the snow.

FIND OUT MORE >>> First aid kit: what should you have in your car in winter?

AAA has the following tips for drivers who need to get out on the roads during a winter weather event:

Cold weather driving tips

  • Keep a pack of cold weather gear in your car, such as extra food and water, warm clothes, flashlight, window scraper, blankets, medicine, etc.
  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated and have enough tread.
  • Keep at least a half tank of fuel in your vehicle at all times.
  • Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed space, such as a garage.
  • Do not use cruise control when driving on slippery surfaces, such as ice and snow.

Tips for driving in the snow

  • Stay at home. Only go out if necessary. Even if you know how to drive well in bad weather, it is better to avoid taking unnecessary risks by venturing outside.
  • drive slowly. Always reduce your speed to account for reduced traction when driving on snow or ice.
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Apply the gas slowly to regain traction and avoid skidding. Don’t try to move in a hurry and take the time to slow down for a red light. Remember: it takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
  • Increase your tracking distance five to six seconds. This increased safety margin will provide the longer distance needed if you need to stop.
  • Know your brakes. Whether or not you have anti-lock brakes, keep the heel of your foot on the ground and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure to the brake pedal.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There is a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a complete stop versus the amount it takes to move while rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep driving until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don’t climb the hills. Applying extra gas on snowy roads will only cause your wheels to spin. Try to get some inertia before you hit the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. When you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and descend slowly.
  • Keep going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to climb a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia on flat pavement before tackling the hill.

Tips for long winter trips

  • be ready: Have your vehicle checked by an AAA Authorized Auto Repair Center before driving.
  • Check the weather: Check the weather along your route and, if possible, delay your trip if bad weather is forecast.
  • Stay logged in: Before setting off, warn others and let them know your route, destination and expected time of arrival.
  • If you are stuck in the snow:
    • Stay with your vehicle: Your vehicle offers you temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. Don’t try to walk in a violent storm. It’s easy to lose sight of your vehicle in blowing snow and get lost.
    • Don’t overwork yourself: When exiting your vehicle, listen to your body and stop if you are tired.
    • To be visible: Tie a brightly colored cloth to your vehicle’s antenna or place a cloth at the top of a rolled up window to signal distress. At night, keep the overhead light on if possible. It only consumes a small amount of electricity and will make it easier for rescuers to find you.
    • Clear the exhaust pipe: Make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked by snow, ice or mud. A blocked exhaust pipe can cause deadly carbon monoxide to leak into the passenger compartment of the vehicle while the engine is running.
    • Stay warm: Use whatever is available to insulate your body from the cold. This could include floor mats, newspapers or paper maps. Pre-pack blankets and heavy clothing to use in an emergency.
    • Save fuel: If possible, run the engine and heater only long enough to eliminate the cold. This will help save fuel.

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