Top 5 Safety Tips for Winter Driving

Winter has arrived and with it, sometimes comes extreme weather such as ice, snow and other dangerous driving conditions. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, (US DOT FHA), “over 1,300 people are killed and more than 116,800 are injured in vehicle crashes on snowy, slushy or icy pavement annually.”

In an effort to reduce some of these crashes, here are some of the top safety tips for driving in winter weather:

safe winter driving tips from optotraffic

1. Be Prepared

Driving in winter conditions just takes a few extra cautionary steps vs. driving in normal situations. Before you head out in extreme weather, make sure your brakes are working properly, check your tires to make sure they still have traction, and be sure to pack a few safety items in case of an emergency and/or breakdown (safety flares, first aid kit, flashlight, sand/salt/kitty litter to increase traction, phone charger, blanket, etc.).

2. Slow Down

Driving in dangerous conditions such as ice and snow greatly increases your chance for a crash. When the roads are slick, you will need more time to stop. Make sure to give fellow drivers plenty of room in case you need to slow down or stop suddenly.

total stopping distance for icy weather

3. Pay Attention

Distracted driving plus winter conditions can create a deadly situation. Don’t rely on technology such as cruise control when you are driving in icy conditions. Put away the cell phone or other gadgets that can be a distraction and be on high alert for rain, snow or ice. Remember: It can wait.

4. Move Over

Unfortunately, winter driving conditions have a both a higher chance of crashes and can put additional strain on vehicles. It is important during these icy conditions to give law enforcement, emergency, and tow truck drivers plenty of room to assist disabled or crashed vehicles, if needed. The general rule is that if you see flashing lights on the side of the road, slow down and, if possible, move over one lane.

5. Stay Home

Ice and freezing rain can create driving conditions that challenges even the best drivers. Snow can cause low-visibility on the roads which creates a higher risk of crashing. Pay attention to the weather and road condition reports and if the weather gets really bad, the advice is to just stay home.

For more information on driving in extreme weather, AAA has a great video or you can view the full list of winter driving tips here.

Optotraffic is committed to increasing safety on our roads and will continue to work with law enforcement to reduce crashes through our innovative traffic enforcement solutions. If you are interested in starting an enforcement program in your community or would like more information on any of our traffic safety programs, please contact us today.