Winter Driving Safety Tips

Winter Driving Safety Tips

Winter Driving Safety Tips Driving in winter weather conditions can cause problems for even the most experienced driver.   Here’s how you can be better prepared. Download the Full Guide California Casualty specializes in customized auto & home insurance for...
Winter Driving Safety

Winter Driving Safety

Undoubtedly, when the roads are covered in snow and/or ice the best option is to just stay hunkered down at home. However, for the majority of us, that’s not an option. In fact, 70 percent of US roads are located in snowy regions. and each year over 116,000 people are injured driving in the snow and ice.

Accumulation on roadways reduces tire friction and vehicle maneuverability and greatly increases the risk of accidents. So, as winter approaches and you make the necessary preparations to your vehicle, make sure you remember these winter driving safety tips to ensure you arrive at your destination safely.

  1. Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. 
    • Allow at least 3 times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
  2. Brake gently to avoid skidding. 
    • If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brakes.
  3. Turn on your lights. 
    • This will make you more visible to other motorists.
  4. Keep your windshield clean.
    •  Once it has defrosted, keep the windshield wipers on to wipe away all falling snow and avoid it freezing over again.
  5. Use low gears to keep traction. 
    • Drive especially slow on hills to avoid rolling backward.
  6. Steer into a skid to avoid a crash.
    • This means if your rear wheels are going right, gently steer in that direction.
  7. Keep an emergency kit in your car.
    • This should include a first aid kit, flashlight, water, blankets, and snowmelt or sand/kitty litter.
  8. Be on the lookout for black ice.
    •  Black ice is barely visible and makes roadways, bridges, and overpasses extremely slick
  9. Don’t pass snow plows.
    • The drivers have limited visibility, and you’re likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.
  10. Don’t assume your vehicle won’t have problems.
    • Even 4-wheel drive automobiles can have issues on ice and snow!


If your rear wheels skid…

  1. Take your foot off the accelerator.
  2. Steer in the direction you want the front wheels to go.
  3. If your rear wheels start sliding the other way as you recover, ease the steering wheel toward that side. You might have to steer left and right a few times to get your vehicle under control.
  4. If you have standard brakes, pump them gently.
  5. If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS), do not pump the brakes. Apply steady pressure to the brakes. You will feel the brakes pulse — this is normal.


If your front wheels skid…

  1. Take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, but don’t try to steer immediately.
  2. As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and traction will return. As it does, steer in the direction you want to go. Then put the transmission in “drive” or release the clutch, and accelerate gently.


Stay warm & be careful out there!

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

8 Winter Driving Tips for New Drivers

Icy roads. Traffic jams. Black ice. Snow conditions. All of these can make a parent go crazy just thinking about their teen driving in these conditions.  How do you talk to your new driver about driving in the winter season? We have some easy tips to get the conversation going.

  1. Decrease your speed.  The faster you’re going, the more room you’ll need to stop.
  2. Be extra careful on bridges and overpasses.
  3. Avoid cruise control or overdrive.
  4. Don’t pass snow plows – their drivers may not see you, and the roads are clearer behind them anyway!
  5. Turn on your lights to be more visible.
  6. Steer into a skid – this means if your rear wheels are going right, gently steer in that direction.
  7. Gently tap your brakes, if you have ABS brakes, gently apply constant pressure.
  8. Keep your windshield wiper fluid filled and keep your headlights clean.

These helpful ideas do not have to just be for your teen. Share with friends and family.



Winter Driving Tips for EMTs


Driving is part of nearly every call, and medical emergencies do not stop happening on account of bad driving conditions. When winter rolls around, most people can leave the car in the garage and stay off the roads. As an EMT you don’t have that luxury, and there are certain precautions and considerations to take. Here are some tips on how to stay safe on the road as a paramedic, from keeping the vehicle in good condition to reducing your speed.


At the station

When the temperatures are dropping and you hear that first winter forecast of the season, preparing your vehicle should be your first move. If you drive a vehicle that belongs to a department, the tires are usually well maintained, and the tread depth should be sufficient for winter driving. Even so, it certainly doesn’t hurt to check. If you are a volunteer, then it is your responsibility to check the inflation and tread depth of the tires on your vehicle.


Check that you have the appropriate level of fluids that are specifically meant to combat freezing temperature, namely antifreeze. Also, your windshield wiper fluid should be rated not to freeze, so make sure you’ve got enough. You’d hate to be flying blind out there.


Speaking of your windshield wipers and your windshield, make sure your wiper blades are soft, pliable and in good condition. Visibility is greatly reduced in inclement weather, so remember to clean your windows and windshield thoroughly between calls. Ice, snow and salt can all accumulate over time, so make sure that your headlights and emergency lights are cleared off. This ensures other motorists can see you when you’re rushing to respond. Snow and ice can also pack into your siren cones, so clear those out to make sure your siren is at full volume.


On the road

Getting your vehicle properly prepared to face the harsh environment in the event of a call is only half the battle. The rest takes place when you’re actually driving, and a main factor is ice. You don’t always see ice, so an important thing to do when you’re responding to a call is to reduce your speed and increase your stopping distance. You may tend to ignore your speed while focusing to respond as fast as possible, but you may be putting yourself and other motorists in danger.


Black ice can show up anywhere; so remember that just because you can see the road does not mean it is free of ice. Remember that bridges and overpasses freeze before the rest of the road does, so be especially careful when your route takes you over one. Ice isn’t always the culprit in winter driving, so watch out for snow and slush as well. Snow and slush make roads slippery, and you can get stuck in particularly deep snow. Don’t drive into deep snow unless you are driving a vehicle that is adequately suited for it.


Above all, be careful! With a proactive attitude and an awareness of road conditions, you’ll be able to carefully and quickly respond to any emergency calls during the winter.


Author Bio:

Cheryl Bikowski is Marketing Communications Supervisor of Gamber-Johnson in Stevens Point, WI. Gamber-Johnson is a leading supplier of vehicle computer mounts and vehicle docking stations and is a member of the Leggett & Platt Commercial Vehicle Products (CVP) Group.

What To Do if You Get Caught Driving in a Snowstorm

What To Do if You Get Caught Driving in a Snowstorm

There’s never a good time for severe weather to hit, but among the worst is when you’re on the road. A sudden snowstorm can quickly impair your visibility, make road conditions extremely dangerous, and affect how your car handles.

Stay safe on wintertime roads with these tips for driving in snow, whiteouts, and on ice.




winter weather conditions


First, some general winter-weather rules of thumb

The below apply to all bad weather driving scenarios.

    • Make sure your tires have plenty of tread before winter weather hits – or better yet, install winter tires.
    • Check the weather before you leave the house; if it’s too bad, wait it out.
    • Clear all snow, ice, and dirt from windows, windshield, brakes, and all other lights before leaving your driveway.
    • Drive slowly the entire time while on the road (the more dangerous conditions, the slower).
    • Drive smoothly, avoiding sudden movements on the steering wheel, brakes, and control panels.




driving in snow


Driving in Snow

The quality of snow in a snowstorm can vary widely, depending on wind speed and direction, moisture levels and more. The snow might be slushy or dry, sparse or voluminous, and it might be falling straight down or at a sharp angle. All of these variables affect how you should proceed on the road, but the following will keep you safer across many conditions.

    • Go slow – Increase your following distance to at least 8-10 seconds.
    • Be hyper-aware of your surroundings – Vigilance on the road will help you avoid snow dangers and also spot (and get out of the way of) out-of-control drivers who are sliding your way.
    • Don’t use cruise control – It’s important that you’re paying close attention and that you’re able to react to road conditions quickly.
    • Use your headlights – Make sure your headlights are on (no matter the time of day), and that they’re on dim and not high. This will help your visibility and also help other drivers see you.
    • Adjust how you brake – If you’re coming up on a stop sign or signal, come to a stop slowly (that extra following distance comes in handy here). Don’t slam on your brakes, as this can put you into a skid. If you have anti-lock or ABS brakes make sure you’re comfortable with how they work in all weather conditions, including snow.
    • Know when and how to stop – Don’t stop if you don’t have to (starting again can be dangerous and difficult), and never stop on a hill. If you must stop, remember it takes vehicles longer to come to a stop in snowy conditions.
    • Drive in the tracks of the car in front of you – This will make it easier to control your vehicle.



driving in a whiteout


Driving in Whiteout Conditions

Whiteouts may be one of the most dangerous of snowy conditions. Here’s how to handle it if you find yourself in one.

    • Remain calm – This is harder said than done but trying to remain calm will help you avoid over-reacting or making poor decisions.
    • Slow WAY down – The most dangerous thing about a whiteout is the sudden loss of visibility. Slowing down will give you time to see what other drivers are doing and have time to react if an accident or other emergency happens right in front of you.
    • Make yourself visible to other drivers – Just as you can’t see other drivers, they can’t see you. Make yourself as visible as possible by turning on your headlights (fog lights are best if you have them), and perhaps even your hazards. You can even use hand signals out the window if you need to.   
    • Wait out the whiteout – If visibility drops to zero and you feel unsafe, look to the nearest exit and pull off. From there, find a shoulder to pull over on. If there are no exits on your stretch of highway, pull to the side of the road, turn on your hazards, and wait out the storm.



driving on ice


Driving in Ice

Besides the snow you can see, there may be ice that you can’t. Notoriously hard to see, black ice acts as a glaze that coats surfaces and makes them extremely slippery and dangerous. When driving, you’ll want to be on the lookout – and ready – for it on all roads, but especially bridges, overpasses, tunnels, roads beneath overpasses, and at the bottom of hills. Check out our tips for spotting and safely negotiating black ice here.

When it comes to the downsides of winter, hazardous driving situations are among the top. But between staying off the road when possible, and taking precautions when you do have to drive, you can keep yourself, your family, and other drivers safer.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

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