Keeping Safe When Driving in Winter Weather

Updated January 2022


Driving in wintery conditions can be a bone-chilling experience for many drivers. Here are some tips to help you stay safe on the road during the winter months.


Photo Preview for Community.jpg

Photo Preview for Community1.jpgPhoto Preview for Community2.jpgPhoto Preview for Community3.jpg

Before You Go:

  • Check weather and road conditions and plan your route accordingly.
  • Give yourself plenty of travel time so there is no temptation to drive faster than conditions allow.
  • Ensure good visibility by clearing snow and ice from windows and any external mirrors, camera lenses and/ or sensors.


On Slippery Roads:

  • Take your time and do not drive faster than what is safe.
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly and smoothly and allow plenty of stopping distance.
  • Stay alert and focused on the driving task.
  • Do not use cruise control while driving on a slick road.

If You Run Into Trouble:

  • When visibility is very limited, find a safe place to completely pull off the road and wait for conditions to improve.
  • Do not remain on the shoulder unless it is an absolute emergency, as other vehicles may not be able to see you.
  • Avoid leaving your car unless you’re positive you can find help and can easily return to your vehicle.

USAA Safety and Loss Prevention is dedicated to the financial security of its members, associates and their families by providing advice and services that helps them be safe and protect their property. You can learn more at




Click link below for larger view of infographic:

Army 37 yrs BJD
Regular Contributor

If you live in midwest or norteast get a set of winter tires.. well worth the cost  even if you have 4X4 winter snow tires are worth it. Also get winter wiper blades as well Winter tires and winter wiper blades have a special rubber compound that works better at cold temps. My 2 cents and I grew up in Fargo  ND. Winter tires on a 2WD  will out do an AWD that only has all season tires. And for removing snow get a big push broom and keep it in the vehicle  and spray locks with deicer if ice is expected.

Briana Hartzell USAA

Thank you for talking the time to comment @Army 37 yrs BJD ! Those are some great tips for safe driving in the winter. I can only imagine North Dakota winters... I have only lived in places with mild winters (as I am responding the weather where I am is 75!)

Army 37 yrs BJD
Regular Contributor

Actually I am retired in Lincoln Nebraska, not tropical by any means, and  winters can still be rough. AS I type this, we have a not so balmy -2 but .. no worries it will warm up to +7 later today.  12 feb will be -23 and 13 Feb will drop to -26. Still warmer than Fargo that will have -33.   a mild wind  will cause Wind chill will be -40 to -50 that day.At those temps vehicles batteries lose about 30% to 50% of normal power output, engines  struggle to start, tire pressue will drop and engine oil becomes  like molasass. 

I have been to some of the hottest places on the planet Iraq, Egypt, Kuwait, NTC  and hot humid places like  Panama, Costa Rica,  Ft Benning, Ft Gordon, Ft Bragg, And though high temps heat and humidity are very discomforting, as long as you have shade and water one can survive. Severe  bitter cold can outright cause death if one does not have shelter and heat. 

Briana Hartzell USAA

@Army 37 yrs BJD  Your comments make me glad to be living in southern California! I agree humidity is a bother at times- but nothing compared to sub zero temperatures! Sending warm thoughts your way and glad you are here in Community!