Driving in winter’s messiest weather can be a stressful and potentially dangerous endeavor. Bearing this in mind, the best advice is to stay home. Just. Stay. Home. Unless there is a truly compelling reason to be out in the storm, put off travel until roads have been treated and cleared.
Here are tips if you do find yourself in an unavoidable winter driving situation.
Keep your headlights on and clear of snow and ice. Clean your windshield off completely. (Go fill your wiper fluid right now!)
Give other cars plenty of space. Stopping, starting, turning, and just about everything else can take much longer on messy, icy roads.
Don’t slam on the brakes! Brake slowly with steady pressure. (Don’t accelerate too quickly either as you will just end up spinning your wheels.) If you do start to slide under braking, release the brakes and gently "pump" them - on, off, on, off.
Be aware that bridges and overpasses may be icy even if well-traveled roads are not.
Do not use cruise control while driving on icy or slippery roads.
Be prepared. Have warm clothing, blankets, water, and snacks in the vehicle. Some kitty litter, sand, or salt can be used to gain traction on ice or snow if you get stuck – a shovel is also useful. Other good things to have in an emergency kit include a flashlight and batteries, first aid kit, matches or lighter, ice scraper, and extra windshield wiper fluid. Winterize your car.
Even if you consider yourself a winter-driving pro, the other people on the road probably don’t share your skill set. Best advice: put off any non-essential travel, work online if possible, reschedule your coffee date, and enjoy the snow from your warm, safe home or hotel room.