Tips for Safe Winter Driving

Have you ever heard of the 3 P’s of safe winter driving? According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor), the 3 P’s are:

  1. PREPARE for the trip.
  2. PROTECT yourself.
  3. PREVENT crashes on the road.

OSHA provides details of these 3 tips for safe winter driving.


  • Maintain Your Car: Check battery, tire tread, and windshield wipers, keep your windows clear, put no-freeze fluid in the washer reservoir, and check your antifreeze.
  • Have on Hand: flashlight, jumper cables, abrasive material (sand, kitty litter, even floor mats), shovel, snow brush and ice scraper, warning devices (like flares) and blankets. For long trips, add food and water, medication, and cell phone.
  • Stopped or Stalled? Stay in your car, don’t overexert, put bright markers on antenna or windows and shine dome light, and, if you run your car, clear exhaust pipe, and run it just enough to stay warm.
  • Plan Your route: Allow plenty of time (check the weather and leave early if necessary), be familiar with the maps/ directions, and let others know your route and arrival time.
  • Practice Cold Weather Driving!
    • During the daylight, rehearse maneuvers slowly on ice or snow in an empty lot;
    • Steer into a skid;
    • Know what your brakes will do: stomp on antilock brakes, pump on non-antilock brakes;
    • Stopping distances are longer on water-covered ice and ice;
    • Don’t idle for a long time with the windows up or in an enclosed space.


  • Buckle up and use child safety seats properly.
  • Never place a rear-facing infant seat in front of an air bag.
  • Children 12 and under are much safer in the back seat.


  • Drugs and alcohol never mix with driving.
  • Slow down and increase distances between cars.
  • Keep your eyes open for pedestrians walking in the road.
  • Avoid fatigue – Get plenty of rest before the trip, stop at least every three hours, and rotate drivers if possible.
  • If you are planning to drink, designate a sober driver.

Other tips to . . . Survive Your Drive.

  • Continually monitor road conditions throughout the day.
  • Turn your vehicle’s low beams to improve visibility.
  • Keep a full tank of gas in case you are stuck in your car. (If you run your car while you’re stuck, clear exhaust pipe and run it just enough to stay warm.
  • Allow extra space between vehicles.
  • Don’t use cruise control when roads are ice or snow covered.
  • Avoid quick breaking or acceleration.
  • When you clear snow or ice from your windshield don’t forget to clear your break lights and turn signal lights.

More information about safe winter driving in these blogs:

Checklist and Tips for Safe Winter Driving:

How a Trucker Must Drive in Winter Weather: