Important Winter Driving Tips!!

For those of you who are not experienced driving in winter weather:
  • If you are on ice or snow, drive in first or second gear (not "D"). You will have better traction.
  • Successful winter weather driving is a matter of momentum. Change momentum (direction + speed) slowly and gradually. 
  • If you have anti-lock brakes and you begin to skid, push the brake pedal down all of the way. Even though the pedal will vibrate, keep pressing. The computer in your car will work to regain traction. If you can safely do so, pop the gearshift into "neutral."
  • Steer in the direction of the skid. 
  • If you have to push another car, make bumper to bumper contact. In this case, first gear. 
  • As one of our commenters points out, 4-wheel drive helps on level pavement and uphill. It does not help with braking. 
The best advice is not to drive at all unless it is a genuine emergency.

Another tip: I would not allow my children with their new driver's licenses to drive on ice or snow until I had practiced with them. Went to a huge, empty parking lot (at night, no cars) with snow and ice. First thing I did was have them get the car up to about 30 mph and jam on the brakes. The car skidded as I hoped. Scared them to death, also as I had hoped. Then, we did a number of more controlled skids and I taught them to steer out of it. Yes, your kids will probably think you are a geek (what teenager doesn't think that of his/her father) but they will appreciate it the rest of their lives. 


  1. To your point about driving in 1st or 2nd gear, it is also a handy tip when going down a hill, in order to control speed, downshift! Your engine will act as a natural speed limiter and assist you in braking. Also, 4WD/AWD helps going up hill or on flat surfaces - 4WD/AWD does NOT help with braking.

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  3. Mike, thanks for these tips! As a Driver's Ed insturctor, I believe these tips can never be reiterated enough. You've done a great serivce, once again!

  4. I've heard the term 'slicker than snot'........


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