Winter Driving Tips

Winter Driving Fact Sheet

The leading cause of death during winter storms is transportation accidents. Preparing your vehicle for the winter season and knowing how to react if stranded or lost on the road are the keys to safe winter driving.


Have a mechanic check the following items on your car.

  • Battery
  • Install good winter tires. Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions. 
  • Antifreeze
  • Wipers and windshield washer fluid
  • Ignition system
  • Keep a windshield scraper and small broom for ice and snow removal.
  • Thermostat
  • Lights
  • Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season
  • Flashing hazard lights
  • Exhaust system
  • Heater
  • Brakes
  • Defroster
  • Oil level (if necessary, replace existing oil with a winter grade oil or the SAE 10w/30 weight variety)

Driver and Pedestrian Safety Tip
Visibility - Keep Headlights and License Plate clear of snow. Wear retro - reflective clothing and accessories

Winter Car Kit
Keep these items in your car:

  • Small sack of sand for generating traction under wheels
  • Flashlights with extra batteries
  • Small shovel
  • First aid kit with pocket knife
  • Small tools (pliers, wrench, screwdriver)
  • Necessary medications
  • Booster cables
  • Several blankets
  • Set of tire chains or traction mats
  • Sleeping bags
  • Cards, games, and puzzles
  • Extra newspapers for insulation
  • Brightly colored cloth to use as a flag
  • Plastic bags (for sanitation)
  • Canned fruit and nuts
  • Matches
  • Extra set of mittens, socks, and a wool cap
  • Rain gear and extra clothes

Tips provided by the following:

FEMA Winter Driving Fact Sheet
St. Lawrence University Security and Safety