Driving in a Winter Wonderland

As the temperatures drop and frost covers our windshields, it’s a good time to think about safe winter driving. According to the Federal Highway Administration, “Over 1,300 people are killed and more than 116,800 people are injured in vehicle crashes on snowy, slushy or icy pavement annually.” So take a little time to prepare your vehicle for winter conditions and remember to drive safe.

WA Department of Transportation has a Winter Driving Checklist of items to keep in your car during the winter months. In addition to the items on that list, I like to keep a box of air activated hand warmers (like Hot Hands) in the car when it’s cold out.

Remember to drive more slowly and carefully when it’s icy, snowy, or hard to see.

  • Turn your headlights on every time you drive
  • Keep your gas tank half full, that way you won’t have to worry about running the heater if you’re stuck in the snow
  • Maintain more distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you, it takes longer to stop on icy roads
  • Clear the ice and snow off your car before driving; the snow piled on your car is considered an unsecured load and you can be fined for not clearing it off before you hit the road
    • If you are driving behind a vehicle with a lot of snow/ice on the roof, stay as far back as possible; ice coming off the vehicle in front of you can shatter your windshield and could put you in the hospital
A chunk of ice caved in this car windshield
A chunk of ice flew off another car and caved in this car’s windshield