A Winter Driving Guide with Car Care Tips

Cars driving in winter weather conditions with ice and snow on the road.

Find out how to prepare for driving in bad weather.

The winter holidays are a fun and festive time of year, especially when visiting relatives and friends. But as the temperature drops and snow begins to fall, driving can become more dangerous. Watch our winter driving tips video, and follow the advice below to help you prepare for the bad weather ahead.

Click here to view the video

Winter Driving Checklist

  • Check Your Lights: In winter, daylight is shorter so you will need your lights more often. Be sure your headlights, brake lights and turn signals function properly.
  • Check Your Tire Pressure Regularly: For every 10 degrees the temperature drops, the air pressure in your car’s tires decreases by about a pound.
  • Check Your Brakes: When brake pads wear down or your brake fluid is low, you may find that your car won’t stop as quickly.
  • Check Your Windshield Wipers: Be sure you have functional wiper blades that will clear the cold rain and snow, and top off your wiper fluid, as drivers often use more in winter.
  • Check Your Battery: Cold temperatures may drain your car’s battery. If your battery is more than 3 years old, consider replacing it

More Winter Driving Tips

  • Be Prepared. Pack a winter safety kit in case of a breakdown. According to FEMA’s website Ready.gov, a winter emergency driving kit should be updated each year and contain: a shovel, windshield scraper and small broom, flashlight, battery powered radio, extra batteries, water, snack food, matches, extra hats, socks and mittens, first aid kit with pocket knife, necessary medications, blanket(s), tow chain or rope, road salt and sand, booster cables, emergency flares and a fluorescent distress flag.
  • Drive Slowly and Keep a Safe Distance. Applying the brakes too quickly may cause your car to skid, so make sure that you have plenty of time and room to stop.
  • Plan Ahead: Carefully plan your route and let someone else know your exact travel plans in the event that there is a problem.
  • Watch Your Gas: Keep your gas tank full. Winter storms and holiday vacations may mean fewer open gas stations along your route. Be sure to plan ahead.
  • Wait for Help: If you do end up stranded, stay in your vehicle and wait for help. Leaving your vehicle and exposing yourself to the elements can make matters worse.
  • Snowplows: Trucks and snowplows will be out clearing away snow and ensuring the roads are salted. Be careful not to crowd or pass these vehicles. Remember they are working to keep you safe.
  • Drinking: Above all, never drink and drive! Plan ahead to have either a designated driver get you home safely, or a safe place to spend the night that is within walking distance of your holiday party.

Perhaps the best advice is to stay home, if you really don’t have to drive in bad weather!

FEMA is not affiliated with Toco Warranty Corp. and has not endorsed Toco Warranty products and services.