Winter Weather Driving Tips

As the temperature drops, the chance of ice or snow on the roads rises. With winter weather on the horizon, AAA Carolinas is providing motorists with tips for driving in wintery conditions.

  • Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage. When you get into your car for that morning commute, make sure to reverse it out of the garage before idling it to defrost the windshield and heat up.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up. 
  • Avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.
  • Never use cruise control when drivng on any slippery surface. 
  • Always look and steer where you want the vehicle to go.


Adhere to the following tips when driving in the snow or ice:


  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids.
  • Increase your following distance behind vehicles to allow for more distance if you need to stop.
  • Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold braking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
  • Don't stop if you can avoid it. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don't power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads causes your wheels to spin. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. Then, reduce your speed and proceed down the hill as slowly as possible. 
  • Don't stop going up a hill. It is very difficult to try to get your vehicle moving up a hill on an icy road.

If you have plans to drive long-distance and may encounter winter weather on your route, the following tips are for you:

  • Consult weather reports prior to your trip. Delay your trip when especially bad weather is expected. Let others know your route, destination and ETA. 
  • Pack your phone, blankets, gloves, hats, food, water and any needed medication in your vehicle in case you have to pull over.
  • If you become snow-bound, stay with your vehicle. It provides temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. Do not try to walk in a severe storm – it is easy to lose sight of your vehicle in snow and become lost.
  • Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna or place a cloth at the top of a rolled up window to signal distress. At night, keep the dome light on if possible to assist rescuers in finding you.
  • Make sure your exhaust pipe isn't clogged with snow, ice or mud.  A blocked exhaust could cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to leak into the passenger compartment with the engine running.
  • Use whatever is avaiable to insulate your body from the cold. This could include floor mats, newspapers or paper maps.
  • If possible, run the engine and heater just long enough to remove the chill and to conserve gasoline.


If you would like more information, please click here for a downloadable and printable "how to go on ice and snow" packet. 

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