Winter Driving

Winter driving can be hazardous even for experienced drivers. Listen to your local radio or television station and obey the instructions of the governor or local authorities. If they say not to drive, then stay home. If you must travel, be sure your vehicle is equipped with emergency supplies in case you find yourself stuck on the side of a road.

What is winter weather?

Winter weather includes precipitation of snow, sleet, freezing rain or a mix of the three. Below are the types of alerts issues by the National Weather Service and what they mean.

Winter weather advisory. Issued when the following is expected within 24 hours:

-    Snow: 1-3”
-    Ice: less than ¼”

Winter storm watch. Issued when conditions are possible:

-    Snow: at least 3” within 24-48 hours 
-    Ice accumulation: ¼” or more in a 12-24 hour period

Winter storm warning. Issued when the following conditions are likely within 24 hours:

-    Snow: at least 3“ 
-    Ice accumulations: ¼” or more


Winter weather driving

If you must drive during winter weather, follow the tips below to ensure you and others on the roads remain safe.
use windshield wipers and turn on the low beam headlights.

  • Check your tire pressure and battery power because the colder temperatures cause the pressure and power to drop.
  • Defrost windows.
  • Reduce speed and increase following distance to allow more time to stop.
  • If you start to slide, take your foot off the gas and do not slam on the brakes. Steer in the direction of the skid.
  • Watch for shady spots, bridges and overpasses because they will be the first to freeze as the temperatures drop.
  • When starting or stopping on snowy or icy roads, increase or decrease your speed slowly. This will help tires keep traction with the road. 
  • Do not use cruise control.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full at all times to prevent moisture from freezing the lines.
  • Carry a stocked emergency kit. Linked Need a page for this


If there is an accident

  • Contact State Highway Patrol at *HP (which is *47).
  • If your vehicle running, scrape away any snow or debris from your exhaust pipe to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning inside your car.
  • Stay in the car. Do not leave to search for assistance. You may become disoriented and lost in blowing and drifting snow.
  • Have a first aid kit, waterproof matches, and a metal can in which to melt snow if the situation becomes desperate. One small candle inside the car will keep you warm enough to survive the cold. Be careful with the open flame, however.
  • Newspapers, maps and even the car mats can be used for added insulation, if stranded for a long period of time.
  • Use a brightly colored cloth to attract attention of passing motorists who can help report your situation to law enforcement.